February 26, 2014

Statler Receives Recognition for Green Efforts

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The Statler Hotel received the 2014 Good Earthkeeping Award — an award given by the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association for eco-friendly hotels — which it will formally receive at a March 3 banquet.

Each year NYSHTA selects one hotel to receive the award as recognition for developing a culture of sustainability and environmentally friendly management practices, according to Nicole Meneveau ’15, a member of the EarthView Eco-Leader Team that has been working on sustainability initiatives at the Statler.

Rick Adie ’75, general manager of the Statler Hotel, said he and the students have been working with The Hersha Group — a hotel management, investment and development firm — since last February to implement the EarthView sustainability program.

The program examines the environmental, financial and social impacts of sustainability initiatives, according to Adie.

Adie said that one of the Statler’s biggest conservation projects was the Energy Conservation Initiative, which included the installation of occupancy sensors to control heating ventilation and air conditioning.

“When the meeting rooms aren’t occupied, heating and air conditioning aren’t running. We also put variable speed drivers [which control the speed of motors] on kitchen exhaust systems and dish machines,” Adie said. “These are the sustainability initiatives that you don’t really see but they have a huge impact.”

The Statler has implemented green initiatives in its dining and conference services, according to Maria Casanova ’14, a member of the EarthView Eco-Leader Team.

“The kitchen tries to use as many local and sustainable vendors as possible. Everything is compostable,” she said. “We changed the banquet tables to be linen-less, which saved thousands of dollars. And we don’t use bottled water for events — we use refillable pitchers.”

The paper products in the guest rooms — such as toilet paper, paper towels and tissues — now have a higher percentage of recycled content, according to Adie.

Another sustainability initiative involves working with the organization Clean the World, which helps recycle toiletries in the hospitality industry, The Sun previously reported.

According to Adie, housekeepers collect gently-used soaps and shampoos left in the guest rooms, and the toiletries are then sent to Clean the World where they are sanitized and shipped to homeless shelters and foreign countries to people in need of them.

“The housekeepers are so proud that they can retrieve these soaps, that the soaps are being repurposed rather than going into the trash,” he said.

Housekeepers are also trained to use close windows to save money on heating and cooling, and use natural lighting and less electricity while they are cleaning, according to Jacob Schaffer ’16, a member of the EarthView Eco-Leader Team.

Adie added he feels that Cornell’s emphasis on sustainability has created an “inspirational” environment on campus.

“We challenge each other. There’s a lot of excitement about how far we’ve come, but we still have lots to do. President [David] Skorton has established a goal that the campus will be carbon neutral by 2050, and everyone is really working towards that,” he said. “It’s going to create a better future for all of us.”