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Under the leadership of general manager Robert Hill, the InterContinental Miami has implemented a comprehensive sustainability focus through the use of IHG’s Green Engage program that began in 2006, incorporating design, operations and technologies that reduce energy, conserve water, cut carbon emissions and decrease waste, while improving guest health and comfort and reducing overall operation costs. As Robert Hill comments, “It is when a hotel can combine all of these elements together that the program can be truly sustainable.”
“This past year, the InterContinental Miami made additional strides through its $30 million renovation project, which included outfitting all 641 suites with energy efficient lighting, low flow water toilets and faucets and recycle bins. Additionally, an LED light installation was made to the hotel’s stately porte-cochere entrance, replacing 550 incandescent bulbs with 4900 LEDs. This switch reduced energy consumption at the entrance by 50%, translating into an overall 20% reduction in energy.”
Robert goes on to explain that the InterContinental Miami means business when it comes to lessening the impact of its energy consumption and waste. Just last month the hotel announced a wind power purchase equivalent to its estimated energy usage for the year. The hotel supports green renewable energy and is adamant about replenishing the energy it consumes, so this purchase supports the creation of wind energy for others. This is the second year the hotel makes this purchase and remains as the largest wind energy purchaser in Florida.
On the back of their commitment to sustainability the hotel have won several awards including the 2013 Hospitality & Tourism Beacon Award, 2010 Aqua-Recycle Award for achieving over 20M gallons of recycled water and the Greater Miami & Beaches Hotel Association Inn Key Award for environmental quality and commitment to being green in 2011 and 2012. Alongside these awards the hotel is also a member of the Florida Green Lodging Program and is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 100% Wind Energy Purchaser’s List.
Robert continues, “Through the many sustainability initiatives, we hope to augment staff’s sense of ownership, so they may choose to translate what they do at work into their home lives – in essence creating a more environmentally conscious community. As for guests, they are aware of the recycling program in their rooms and can choose to take part in the water conservation program, but most of their experience is seamless, so they never see the work that is done behind the scenes.”
“Our hotel has a long-time tradition of creating partnerships within the community for the benefit of our employees, guests, neighbours and environment, and look forward to advancing these efforts further in the future.”
One of the most exciting sustainable initiatives at the hotel is the purchase of wind power equal to 100% of the hotel’s estimated energy usage in 2013. The hotel ranks as the largest green power purchaser in the state of Florida and maintains its place on the EPA’s 100% Purchaser’s List for a second year in a row.
The EPA estimates that this purchase avoids an estimated 11,534 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 2,172 passenger vehicles each year, or the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of 1,381 average American homes for one year.
Here are some of the other eco initiatives in place at the InterContinental Miami at the moment:
Energy & Carbon
Education & training
To wrap up, Green Hotelier asked Robert…
What have been the main benefits of implementing these green initiatives?
We believe being ‘green’ is much more than a trendy badge of distinction. Hotels produce a large amount of waste on a daily basis and by acting responsibly to minimize our impact on the environment is vital. Simply put, we run our hotel operations with a dedication to sustainable development. By being vocal about sustainability, we hope to set an example for all hoteliers. If one can make a difference and positively impact the environment, imagine the impact we as an industry can make. Every little green action contributes to the wellness of local communities. Additionally, our employees are proudly vested in the initiatives, which we believe translate into their own lives. Having a sense of ownership in the place they live, work and play is invaluable. For our customers, being green is of growing importance. By doing business with us, they allow us to have more resources available to dedicate to expanding our green initiatives.
What are the plans for extending green initiatives in the future?
We are always evaluating next steps when it comes to improving, whether it is expanding our garden or adding greenery to the city street that runs parallel to our entrance. As part of our operations, we continuously partner with the local electric and waste management companies and others to evaluate energy efficient chillers, building energy management, and water and waste reduction strategies. All green initiatives require an investment, but we believe that in the end the costs will have a positive impact on our bottom line.
What would be your top 3 bits of advice to hotels looking to do the same?
For more information go to The InterContinental Miami and IHG’s latest Corporate Social Responsibility Report
IHG is a member of the International Tourism Partnership