Denver continues to up the ante when it comes to green meetings. Not only does the Colorado Convention Center have an onsite garden, but Four Seasons Hotel Denver also recently announced several new green initiatives that eco-conscious meeting planners will appreciate and have come to expect of this Colorado destination.
Perhaps the hotel’s most interesting green initiative is the wooden guest keys made from birch harvested through sustainable means. The biodegradable keys provide a more environmentally responsible alternative to plastic keys. Same goes for the new recyclable Nespresso coffee pods available for guests in their rooms.
For meetings, the Denver property takes it a step further than the corporate-wide Green Meetings program, which offers the typical dry-erase boards instead of paper flip charts, paperless conference correspondence, china and silverware instead of disposable dining utensils and menus using locally sourced foods.
“From the broader scope, Colorado is seen as a very environmentally friendly city,” says Michael Berk, director of catering. “People associate the tree-hugger lifestyle with this area because the environment does come first. Because we show how important it is to us at this hotel, the local customer sees it and has responded by bringing business to us.”
The hotel staff washes banquet linens with an ozone system that uses oxidized water, essentially powering the wash with oxygen and saving about 40,000 gallons of water annually. They also use no or very few chemicals to launder the linens. The banquet level is also on a reset schedule that coordinates the heating and cooling systems to the weekly meeting schedule. Berk says that they give the engineering department a weekly schedule that they input into a computer program that turns heating and cooling on or off a couple hours before and after an event at the hotel.
The catering department uses water stations with infused berries and citrusy fruits instead of water bottles to cut down on plastic. For groups that want water bottles though, the hotel now offers biodegradable water bottles from WorldLife Water, a local organization that contributes a portion of its proceeds to fund projects that expand access to clean drinking water worldwide.
Berk says that the hotel’s sustainability efforts come from simply listening to the customers—several of which won’t bring a meeting to the hotel unless they know its serious about green meetings.
“We give tours with our chief engineer to discuss any further details about what we’re doing, especially when it comes to our LED lighting options,” says Berk. “You really get a sense of place that you’re here in Denver because the city speaks to [sustainability] so much.”