March 31, 2018

Dear Boston Green Tourism Members,  

Our next meeting will be Thursday April 5 from 2:30 to 4:00 at  The Ritz-Carlton, Boston   in the Studio Room, on level 2. 

I thank our host: Omar Roldan.
I hope you can come!

Omar RoldanDirector of Engineering, The Ritz-Carlton, Boston

Mr. Roldan will discuss three completed or planned energy efficiency projects: the installation of Telkonet's guestroom energy management system, using EcoTouch wireless thermostats; new LED lighting for the hotel's redesigned guest rooms; and converting to ThinkLite high-quality LED tubes, which are the most energy efficient tube lights on the market.

Andy HaunSVP - Chief Technology Officer, Microgrids, Schneider Electric

Mr. Haun will discuss some of the newer ways to generate energy that, coupled with microgrid controls, assure reliability when the electricity grid goes down, cut energy use and reduce demand charges.
He'll show us how commercial buildings use batteries, UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), CHP (combined heat and power), PV (solar electricity) and back-up generators to their advantage.

Mark Rossi Executive Director, Clean Production Action

Mr. Rossi will describe how hoteliers can assess their facility's chemical footprint, identify  chemicals of high concern and replace them with safer chemicals.

Brian Hindt, President and CEO, EcoClear

Dirty coils increase HVAC energy consumption by up to 30%.  Mr. Hindt will explain how a thorough, deep cleaning of your hotel's HVAC coils is one of the best and easiest ways to reduce energy consumption. 
He'll explain how HVAC coil cleaning removes dirt and biohazards like legionella, thereby improving indoor air quality and reducing risk.  

Matthew FaganSenior Sales Executive,  SMARTCON Solutions

Mr. Fagan will take us to one of the Ritz-Carlton guestrooms and show us the hotel's new Telkonet EcoTouch thermostats, which are a component of the hotel's guestroom energy management system. 

The Telkonet system sends alerts to hotel engineers when problems are discovered, and produces useful reports. Guests like the EcoTouch thermostats because they're sleek and have a touch-screen. 


Governments are Asking Commercial Buildings to become Fossil Fuel Free;   How can Hotels Achieve that Standard?
The City of Boston established a goal of 100% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050--not just for government buildings and operations, but for the entire city. 

Similarly, California has set ambitious goals for zero net energy (ZNE) buildings. One of them is that, "50% of commercial buildings will be retrofit to ZNE by 2030."

Other cities and states are considering such goals, too.
How can existing hotels eliminate their use of fossil fuels in order to meet these standards? Here's how to do it in four steps.
1. Make buildings as energy efficient as possible

There are dozens of ways, of course, for properties to become more efficient. Most Boston hotels have already cut their energy use by 20% or more since 2005. 

Some of the strategies with the biggest impact that are largely untapped, or new and improving, include: smart building technology (Fault Detection & DiagnosisAutomatic System Optimization and lighting controls); advanced ventilation systems and controls (including constant air regulators and HVAC load reduction systems); and more extensive use of heat transfer technologies. Combined heat and power (CHP) systems can sharply cut hotel energy use, too. 
MA hotels will continue to become more efficient, because technologies keep improving and the Mass Save financial incentives are rich.

2. Electrify all functions that now use natural gas , such as space heating, water heating and cooking.
For existing hotels that want to stop using fossil fuels, this is the most challenging step. Electric heat pumps (examples  here and here) provide economical, quiet and space-efficient heating and cooling for new commercial buildings. But it's costly to retrofit existing buildings with heat pumps, because they require the installation of an extensive pipe network.
An HVAC executive told me that a ballpark ROI for incorporating heat pumps into existing buildings not designed for them is 10 years. Incentives, of course, would make such an investment more appealing.
It's easier to convert to electric cooking equipment. Although many chefs prefer cooking with gas, the newer electric induction stoves are gaining converts.

3. Buy electric vehicles for use by the hotel . 

By the early 2020's, EV's are expected to be cheaper than gasoline-powered vehicles.

4. Buy 100% renewable energy, like wind and solar power, for electricity

Once a property runs all of its equipment on electricity, and its vehicles are electric, it could be powered entirely by renewable energy--and become a zero net energy building.
Buying 100% renewable energy seems like a stretch for many hotels right now. But over time, it will become ordinary, for two reasons.
First, the grid will become greener over time. In MA, the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires electric utilities to provide 13% renewable energy in 2018; and increase that number by 1% per year. So, MA buildings will use at least 45% renewable electricity by 2050. Even that number might be conservative, because proposed legislation calls for increasing the RPS by 2% or 3% per year.
Second, the price of renewable electricity continues to plummet. Solar and wind power, combined with batteries, are expected to be cheaper than fossil fuel in most states in the 2020's. In some states, they already out-compete fossil fuel.

As you can see, steps 1, 3 and 4 will be fairly easy to accomplish over time. The biggest challenge for hotels that want to be fossil fuel-free, will be converting to electric space and water heating.


Jordan Graham,  Boston Herald,   March 28

The recent floods in downtown Boston have brought climate change preparedness into focus.

Experts testified this week that it will cost $1 billion to $2.5 billion to prepare Boston for flooding from sea level rise and storm surges associated with climate change.  

Mayor Walsh said that coming up with this funding is, "non-negotiable." He expects it to come from city, state, federal and private sources. 

Governor Baker has proposed a $1.4 billion investment in climate preparedness for MA.

Bed Bugs suck - no, literally!  IPM meets Bed Bug challenges
IPM in  Health Care  Facilities Facilities Project, Winter 2018

This 6-page document provides the latest thinking about the Integrated Pest Management approach to bed bug management. 

The authors recommend, "eliminating clutter where the bugs can hide; encasing and isolating certain furniture; thorough vacuuming; caulking and sealing cracks and crevices around bed frames, floors, walls, baseboard edges, and moldings; and laundering fabrics and clothing." 

They recommend treating infestations with steam treatments and heat. They also reference a study that showed that low-toxicity silicone and paraffin oils are effective bed bug treatments.

Marriott International press release, January 22
The 25 Element Hotels now offer free bikes and helmets to their guests. In several cities, they provide maps, too.
The bikes are easy to maintain because they have airless tires, a rustproof frame and a grease-free belt drive. They're also comfortable.

The following meeting will be 2:30 to 4:00. 

April 5 The Ritz-Carlton, Boston
May ??
Lenox Hotel*
October 11 The Langham, Boston

* Note that this meeting takes the place of the two March meetings that were postponed because of snow. I'll communicate the date in the next newsletter.
**We'll have one more meeting in the fall. I haven't scheduled the date yet.

See you April 5 at the Ritz-Carlton!
Boston Green Tourism
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