Here’s a benefit of writing a blog. Even if my letter to the editor at the Boston Globe isn’t published, I still get to share it with globe (i.e. the world) readers. I got a little worked up after a reading this story in the business section yesterday (I zip through the Globe daily online, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post) about a new hotel venture by the same company that brought us Westin/W Hotel. This is what I sent the Globe:
I was disappointed that the July 1 article on Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc’s new test hotels in Lexington (Mass.) read more like a public-relations fact sheet than a news article. Here are some questions I’d like to see vice president Brian McGuinness answer about his “ecoconscious” Element hotel.
1) Why did you tear down the old Sheraton to build a new structure? Inherently, that is anti-environmental.
2) Sure, it’s nice that you have such things as in-room recycling, low-flow showerheads, and energy-saving bulbs, but many hotels have that already. What makes your contribution to this field so special?
3) You give priority parking to hybrids, but you probably know that many compact cars get better mileage than larger hybrids. Will I get VIP parking for my 1994 Honda Civic hatchback? It still gets 35-plus mpg on the highway, and I haven’t used up valuable resources buying a new car for 14 years now!
4) Since these weren’t mentioned, here are a few things I wonder if you do have. If not, why not? Solar energy, geothermal energy, windows that open, recycling building materials, recycled particleboard in the rooms, a green rooftop, native plantings, a bike-sharing program, kitchen composting, in the rooms and with any food services you provide.
5) Is your building certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System? If not, why not?
The answers to these questions would help consumers decide if your hotel is truly eco-conscious or just another green-wash marketing scheme.
Diane Daniel/Durham, NC, USA