Green Hotels Association
    October 2016  


A TRUE EVERGREEN,
Irving House at Harvard

When asked what was new greenwise at her property, Innkeeper Rachael Solem (14-year PARTNER MEMBER, 44-room property in Cambridge, Massachusetts), responded, “We have supported (as a sponsor) the pedicabs that take guests around Our Fair City on people-powered wheels.

She continued, "We are hosting a beehive, and will soon have some honey for our guests from our very own hive. I cannot tell my neighbors about this until it has been around for a while, since Cambridge has not made bee-keeping legal or illegal at this time. We work with BestBees.com, so we support the research they are doing on the causes of and cures for Colony Collapse Disorder (as well as providing a home away from other hives so our bees might be hearty pioneers).”

Other important Irving House at Harvard green landmarks include:
● In 2006, the EPA awarded us their EnergyStar Label. The main house at 24 Irving Street was one of only 3,000 buildings in the US to have such a designation as of March 2007.
● In the summer of 2009, Irving House engaged the services of New England Solar Hot Water (neshw.com) to install an evacuated tube system to heat the guest hot water. This has reduced the therm consumption of natural gas for guest hot water by 25%.
● We no longer offer water bottled in disposable bottles. We offer reusable bottles and cold, filtered Cambridge water. This reduces the plastic production, transportation and land use demands of disposable bottles.
● Our guests love composting, certainly at breakfast, taking away Cambridge water in their branded bottles and using our canvas bags when they shop since Cambridge now has a plastic-bag ban in place.
● Guests may share the use of a refrigerator so that they do not need to throw out their delicious leftovers from dinner.

Rachael continues, “I would say, in general, that green efforts do not save us much money, but do provide better accommodation for a portion of our guests who are environmentally conscious and wish to continue their best practices when traveling.

The awards are lovely, and do get us a bit of attention when they occur. But overall, I just enjoy working with local vendors, insisting on organic products wherever possible, encouraging them to use reusable shipping containers for us as well as them, and having staff become more aware of and healthier as a result of our use of environmentally-friendly cleaning products.”

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We no longer offer water bottled in disposable bottles. We offer reusable bottles and cold, filtered Cambridge water.
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