Feb. 20, 2014

Statler earns award as greenest hotel in New York state

Check in to conservation and check out sustainability: Cornell’s Statler Hotel will receive the 2014 Good Earthkeeping Award, the greenest award bestowed by the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association.

The award recognizes the Statler, which has developed a culture of integrating superior environmental management practices. The honor will be given March 3 in Albany, N.Y., at the association’s 2014 Stars of the IndustryGala and Awards Banquet.

“This is a very prestigious award, and all of our staff and our student-employees are very proud to have earned it. Our initiatives align with the university goals established by President David Skorton. We are very serious about protecting the environment,” says Rick Adie ’75, the general manager of the Statler. “Here at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, we teach our students state-of-the-art, exemplary business practices, and in doing so, we’re keeping the Earth.”

In partnership with The Hersha Group and Jay Shah ’90, the group’s chief executive officer, the Statler Hotel implemented EarthView, a triple-bottom-line sustainability program created by the group. It delivers environmental and conservation programs focused on helping a hotel’s bottom line, while improving the well-being of guests, employees and communities.

Working with Hersha’s EarthView team in Philadelphia, professional staff from the Statler and students (Maria Casanova ’14, Nicole Meneveau ’15 and Jacob Schaffer ’16) in the Hotel Leadership Development Program took inventory of the hotel’s sustainability efforts, completed return-on-investment calculations and evaluated new initiatives.

For example, since March 2013, the Statler Hotel has partnered with Clean the World, a nonprofit group that seeks to divert material from landfills and reduce hygiene-related deaths on a global scale. The Statler collects gently used soaps and bottled amenities left after a guest’s stay. It then sends them to Clean the World for sanitizing and global distribution.

Two years ago, the Statler commenced a major initiative to install motion sensors in public areas and heat sensors in kitchen exhaust to improve the efficiency of existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

For its food and conference facilities, the hotel staff members work to purchase sustainable, locally grown food and products in season, and they work with a master food purveyor to coordinate with regional farmers. Statler chefs follow standards set by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program for fish on its menus. To eliminate using bottled water, a Natura water system provides filtered, chilled water on demand in meeting rooms.

Statler management even considers waste: “While we have composted in all of our kitchens for several years, we have instituted composting in our two student cafeterias that the hotel operates,” says Adie. “We serve about 3,000 meals per day in these two operations. With the exception of pre-packaged products like candy wrappers and chip bags, almost everything delivered at our two quick-service eateries is now compostable or recyclable.”

Adie says that the Statler is working to eliminate all incandescent lighting in public areas, replacing bulbs with compact fluorescents and LEDs. All lights in guest quarters already use compact fluorescent bulbs, he says.

Housekeepers have been trained to save and reuse unopened items, turn off electrical devices, use natural light when cleaning and to close windows when either heating or cooling is in use.

“This is just the beginning,” says Adie. “I’m very excited about the future of the Statler and the hospitality industry in general – and for their sustainability efforts. Being at Cornell, we hope to blaze a green trail for the industry.”