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From zero to sustainable: following one hotel's greening

Posting in Sustainability

New York's Barclay had never focused on sustainability until its new general manager arrived. Now, it's being enhanced in various shades of green--from the showers down to the sheets.

Until the InterContinental New York Barclay’s new general manager came on board, the landmark 686-room hotel hadn’t given much thought to sustainability. But now, the property is on the fast track to green. And Conde Nast Traveler blogger Dinda Elliott is following this “sustainable revolution in the grand old hotel” every step of the way.

What’s most interesting about Elliott’s posts, which will continue as she watches the greening over the course of a year, is that unlike a factory or a skyscraper getting its green act together, a hotel has enough homey elements that following its greening is pretty relevant—and educational—for homeowners. Is it worth getting organic sheets? What if they have to be flown in from India? What’s the bottom line on lighting?

Elliott, who has gained full access to the hotel during its greening, takes on sheets (the hotel’s consideration of linens made from a Eucalyptus and bamboo blend), light bulbs (changing all the regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent) and sustainably fished seafood in her first few posts and will continue covering the hotel’s transformation for the rest of the year.

The new general manager, Herve Houdre, came from a five-year stint as GM of the Willard InterContentinental in Washington. Elliott said he is committed to making change in New York.

“Houdre’s mantra is the ‘triple bottom line,’” she writes, “and I guarantee he will tell you about his commitment to ‘planet, people, and profits.’”

Check out Elliott’s posts:
Should You Accept This Mission...Make a Grand Dame Green
When It Comes to Light Bulbs, We're All in the Same...Hotel!
Rallying the Troops—Chefs, Maids, and All
That Shrimp Can Rock Your World
Is That Bamboo in Your Sheets or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

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Melanie D.G. Kaplan

Contributing Editor

Melanie D.G. Kaplan is a Washington, D.C.- based journalist. She is a regular contributor to The Washington Post and National Parks Magazine. Her website is www.melaniedgkaplan.com. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure