Hilton New York Unveils Eco-Centric Initiatives to Celebrate Two-Years of
Generating Clean Power with Fuel Cell Technology
Largest Hotel in New York Leads with Innovative Waste-Reduction Programs
MCLEAN, Va. and NEW YORK, N.Y. – October 29, 2009 – Two years after installing one of the cleanest power generating technologies available on its roof high above Avenue of the Americas, one New York hotel is now dissolving food waste with micro-organisms to reduce garbage volume. Hilton New York’s innovative approach to eco-stewardship is apparent as it marks its second year using revolutionary UTC Power fuel cell technology by introducing four new initiatives to reduce waste throughout the hotel.
“Hilton New York is an innovator in implementing sound environmental practices, and the work of leaders like them will help New York City meet the ambitious goals in PlaNYC, our long-term vision for a greener, greater New York,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Unlike most cities, New York generates the bulk of its emissions from buildings, so greening existing buildings is key to reducing carbon emissions 30 percent by the year 2030.”
Just last week, the hotel was the recipient of the 2008-2009 Environmental Recognition Program – “Green Street” Award by the Avenue of the Americas Association. This new award highlights efforts to adopt environmentally sustainable programs or improvements to the workplace. Hilton New York received the award in the Energy Efficiency /Sustainability Projects category for “Buildings Over 1M Square Feet” in recognition of its energy fuel cell which reduces the hotel’s overall carbon footprint in the community.
As the largest hotel in Manhattan, Hilton New York’s implementation of the fuel cell power system – currently the only fuel cell powering a New York area hotel -represented a huge undertaking in the hospitality industry. The PureCell® system provides electric power and hot water throughout the hotel’s 2,000 rooms, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week without combustion. The system is nearly three times more energy efficient than the electric grid when used in combined heat and power applications. Since the fuel cell’s installation in October 2007, it has produced for the hotel approximately 1.75M kilowatts per year of electricity for a total of nearly 3.5M kilowatt hours to date. That equates to approximately 6% of the hotel’s consumption. Supplementing the hotel’s energy needs with fuel cell technology is just one of the ways Hilton New York is helping the city’s environment. The Hilton Hotels brand was one of the first to employ sustainability-focused initiatives now common within the hospitality industry, such as linen and towel reuse programs; paper, bottle and can recycling; and the use of energy saving light bulbs. Hilton New York demonstrates its leadership again with its recent introduction of the following new leading-edge initiatives to reduce waste throughout the hotel:
- Organic waste decomposition system: To reduce the eight tons of wet garbage – the equivalent of approximately 5,000 meals – once produced on average at the hotel each day, Hilton New York catering and operations team members turned to science. The hotel’s new organic waste decomposition system distributed by BioHitech America, located in the hotel’s New York Marketplace restaurant banquet kitchen, enables employees to dispose of table and kitchen scraps into a unit the size of a chest freezer. Microorganisms and water inside the unit break down the food wastes into a disposable liquid that is ultimately returned back to the ecosystem via our existing drainage and sewer system. The digestion process, which has exceeded 100 pounds per hour, eliminates approximately 400 bags of garbage per day.
- Water purification system: Hilton New York has implemented an on-site water purification system created by Natura® Water. The Natura® system connects to your existing water source. The water flows through two different high tech Natura® filters and then sterilizes the water through a prolonged exposure to UV light. Tap water is purified into chilled, high-quality still and sparkling water and served in re-usable glass bottles, available in the hotel’s restaurants and room service. By year’s end, we anticipate that the use of these re-usable bottles will have eliminated approximately 12,000 disposable glass and plastic bottles from daily circulation in the hotel.
- Biodegradable guest room access key cards: Hilton New York is introducing a new room key made from biodegradable PVC supplied by Guest Access Int’l®, a pioneer in developing green products. Biodegradable key cards are part of the EnviroKeysTM line, a comprehensive program of environmentally friendly alternatives offered by Guest Access Int’l®. The biodegradation process begins when the bioPVCTM film is introduced into a fertile environment allowing the plastic card product to break down in as little as nine months. The hotel estimates that using the new biodegradable key cards will save 250 pounds of plastic from clogging landfills over the next five years.
“Sustainability is now an essential element of our hotel culture. It shapes both our actions as team members and the experiences we provide our guests,” said Conrad Wangeman, General Manager, Hilton New York. “The accomplishments of our 2,000 room hotel are significant and prove that a hotel of any size can provide a premium product while minimizing its impact on the environment.”
In addition to implementing hotel-wide sustainability initiatives, Hilton New York also enables eco-conscious guests to do their part for the environment. In August, the hotel began beta testing an opt-in housekeeping initiative to help guests minimize their ecological footprint at the hotel. The program enables guests to decline full housekeeping services for one or more nights of their stay in an effort to reduce water and energy consumption and the use of cleaning chemicals.
The bold steps taken by Hilton New York are part of Hilton Hotels’ global focus on sustainability. The brand is working to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and output of waste by 20 percent and reduce water consumption by 10 percent before 2014.
“One of the biggest challenges for hotels seeking to be eco-centric is to generate a compelling return on investment,” said David Horton, Global Head – Hilton Brand. “We are pleased to share lessons learned at Hilton New York about how sustainable initiatives deliver tremendous benefits for a hotel, its guests, and the environment with our other hotels so that they can be applied across the Hilton brand.”