New York City hotels to cut carbon emissions

Hotel sustainability is top of mind these days for both guests and operators, and the concept is about to take a big step forward. 

CBC News reported that sixteen hotels in New York City have pledged to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent over a decade. The properties include the Waldorf-Astoria New York, the Lotte New York Palace, the Pierre-A Taj Hotel and the Crowne Plaza Times Square, all of which are taking part in the Carbon Challenge program headed by city mayor Bill de Blastio. 

"If some of New York's most iconic hotels can significantly reduce their carbon footprint, anyone can," de Blastio said in a statement.

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The News & Observer reported that such a cutback would reduce emissions by 32,000 metric tons and save $25 million in energy costs. Over 56.5 million travelers visited New York City in 2014, making the destination an important battleground to set precedents in hotel operations, and sustainability as a whole.

Hotels are not alone in cutting back. City officials said more than 17 universities, 11 hospitals and roughly 20 residential property management companies (nearly 7 percent of citywide building-based emissions, all told) are on board with the program. The Carbon Challenge wants to reduce citywide greenhouse gasses 80 percent by 2050, and the buildings signed on the participate are expected to reduce emissions by 515,000 metric tons.

Each year the hospitality industry becomes more environmentally focused, and 2015 was no different. The Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research developed a tool to track carbon measurements for hotels in September, and plans on update the tool in 2016. 

Brands are also releasing data about their sustainability efforts. The most publicized was Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which revealed it reduced its overall energy use by 12.8 percent, carbon emissions by 16.07 percent and water use by 17.26 percent across all owned, managed and franchised properties from 2008 through 2014. Starwood's overall goal is to cut energy use by 30 percent and water use by 20 percent globally by 2020.

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