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DoubleTree gets Green award

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald file photo

Among its environmental considerations, the DoubleTree Hotel spent $17,000 recently for new washing machines that reduce the electricity, chemicals and water used. The hotel also gives its guests the option of not having their laundry done every day, which conserves more than 357,000 gallons of water every year.

By John Peel Herald staff writer

On the strength of its efforts to minimize waste, conserve energy and purchase in an environmentally sensitive manner, Durango’s DoubleTree Hotel on Wednesday was awarded the 2012 Green Business Leadership Award.

The award was announced at the weekly meeting of the Green Business Roundtable.

“Our whole hotel couldn’t be prouder,” Kristin Nielsen, director of sales and marketing at the Durango DoubleTree, said in an interview following the roundtable. “We’ve been working so hard for so many years on this process.”

The other finalists were Zia Taqueria and Durango Natural Foods.

The award generally goes to a locally based business, and a national chain – the DoubleTree is managed and owned by Hilton Hotels – has perhaps a higher bar to clear to compete for the local award, Michelle Reott, an organizer of the roundtable, said during the award presentation at the Strater Hotel.

“DoubleTree Hotel Durango’s local efforts go way beyond national standards in hospitality,” Reott said.

“On a local level, the Durango DoubleTree measures everything,” said Reott, who presented the award with fellow roundtable organizer Kent Ford. “They have diverted 61 percent of their overall waste stream from the landfill. ... They annually compost approximately 7,680 pounds of food and yard waste.”

The DoubleTree in 2011 earned a silver level Green Seal Certification, becoming the first lodging property in Durango to earn this third-party recognition.

Nielsen said the hotel analyzed every aspect of its operations from beginning to end, looking to make things greener and safer with the lowest impact possible. There’s been an overall financial savings as well as health benefits to employees from, for instance, using chemicals that aren’t so harsh.

Reott named several other steps the DoubleTree takes, including:

Using paper products that are 30 to 100 percent recycled material, and tissue and toilet paper that are 100 percent post-consumer material.

A switch two years ago to a saline-based swimming pool.

It takes used amenities from guest rooms and gives them to the Manna Soup Kitchen every couple of months.

Finalist Zia Taqueria supports local food growers and ranchers in the Four Corners, Ford said. Zia even owns two greenhouses.

“They grow relationships and infrastructure to increase the amount of local food they can serve,” he said.

Durango Natural Foods, a grocery store coop, takes many steps to reduce its energy use, pollution and waste, Ford said. It recycles and composts on-site.

Seven to 10 percent of the products that Durango Natural Foods sells – including soaps, greeting cards, granola, coffee, eggs and more – are locally and regionally produced.

johnp@durangoherald.com

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