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Starwood Hotels in Colorado are meeting places with a conscience

Denver honored as Best City for “Green Meetings”; Sheraton Denver Downtown is one of first hotels nationwide to launch eVent Portfolio, reducing paper for meetings industry.

DENVER – Denver recently received the honor of being named the greenest meeting city in the country. With recycling and composting programs, as well as the other environmental policies it has in place, Denver has climbed to the top of the eco-friendly ladder. Similarly, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide continues to grow and expand its sustainable practices and these efforts are especially apparent in its Denver and Colorado properties.

With a dedicated “Green Team” that constantly seeks out new green initiatives for properties to use, all Starwood companies have committed to the 30x20x20 program, which seeks to reduce hotels’ energy consumption by 30 percent, and their water consumption by 20 percent, all by 2020. One way all Starwood properties participate in this is through the Make a Green Choice program, which offers guests the option to opt out of daily linen and towel replacement services, and in return, the guests can receive a $5 voucher for participating vendors or 500 Starpoints for each day they decline housekeeping. Starwood’s Colorado properties, including the Sheraton Denver Downtown, the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Villas, the Westin Denver Downtown, the Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass have made distinctive strides in green programs for both employees and guests.

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

For example, the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, which is Denver and Colorado’s largest hotel, was recently ranked in the top 15 meeting places of the U.S, received the 2013 Silver Certificate from TripAdvisor.com for their new Green Leaders Program, and has earned a 4 Green Keys Eco-Rating.

“We are honored to receive this recognition, but more importantly, we are thrilled with the continuing strides the hotel is making to improve our sustainable footprint and live up to our legacy as a green hotel,” said Chuck Schuringa, hotel manager at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

In addition, courtesy of the Sheraton Denver Downtown’s “Green Team,” it has initiated new programs over the years, including:

  • A partnership with Clean the World. In roughly one year’s time, the Sheraton Denver Downtown has recycled unused guest soaps into 17,040 new bars of soap distributed to families in need all over the world
  • A partnership with the Joint Energy Efficiency Program (JEEP), a government division of Xcel Energy, which provides rebates for green practices.
  • A recent partnership with A1 Organics, a local company out of Eaton, Colo., uses recycled materials from the hotel to build children’s playgrounds and community parks.
  • In 2010, the installation of a $1.3 million tunnel washer the size of a Volkswagen Bus has reduced water usage by 50 percent annually.
  • A new trash monitoring system on the hotel’s compactors has resulted in reducing pulls by 50 percent, and the hotel is in the process of converting all public spaces to LED lighting at a cost of $1.3 million.

Conferences held at the Sheraton Denver can participate in the hotel’s “Sustainable Meetings” program offering green meeting options and a sustainability report at the conclusion of meetings to help organizations gauge their environmental impact while at the hotel. Meeting planners also have the option of using eVent Portfolio, an electronic meeting planner tool that debuted last year at the Sheraton Denver Downtown and 13 other Starwood properties nationwide. The tool drastically reduces the need for paper in the event planning process and helps planners track how much paper, energy and waste their meeting saves with a special sustainability tab.

The hotel also has an extensive recycling program for most materials the hotel uses, and they invite employees and guests to participate. Employees are also encouraged to make green changes in their personal lives, with the help of monthly employee trainings to provide instructions on how to live more sustainably.

Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Villas

The Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Villas boasts a similar recycling program that recycles nearly everything in the hotel, from mattress materials to waste oils and light bulbs. The Sheraton Steamboat Resort’s Rollingstone Ranch Golf Course is also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, due to maintaining a high degree of environmental quality in a number of areas, including environmental planning, chemical use reduction, safety, water conservation and wildlife and habitat management.
Additionally, the resort runs a nearly zero-waste cafeteria, and also participates in Clean the World’s soap recycling program. For their efforts, they have received Gold Level Certification through Steamboat’s sustainable business program and were awarded Outstanding Recycler of the Year in 2010.

Guests and employees at the Sheraton Steamboat have the option to attend ongoing green educational events and are incentivized to bike or walk to their destinations. The hotel also offers the “Green Meeting Program” for event planners.

Westin Denver Downtown Hotel

Back in Denver, the Westin Denver Downtown has pledged a commitment to what they call the “triple bottom line” of economic, social and environmental operations within their hotel. Their EPA’s Portfolio Manager score has moved from a 41 to a 76 over the last seven years, earning them an Energy Star. In addition, they have saved nearly a billion gallons of water since February 2011, utilizing a water recycling system in their commercial laundry.

Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass

The Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass have followed suit, winning the first annual Sustainability Award from the Town of Snowmass in 2013. Both hotels participated in an eight-month renovation during 2012, where reclaimed lumber and sustainable finishes were installed, along with low-flow showers and master switches to save on water and energy.

In a state where going green is becoming incorporated into everyday expectations and activities, Starwood holds itself accountable as a trend setter within the hospitality world. “We approach sustainability as a responsibility,” said Schuringa. “This is an area we can take a leadership role and impact a lot of people.”

Photo caption: Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

 

Tatiana Rokou

Tatiana is the news coordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes monitoring the hundreds of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skimming the most important according to our strategy.

She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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