TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Governor Charlie Crist last week applauded Walt Disney Parks & Resorts for its achievement of 100 percent of its lodging properties earning the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Green Lodging Program designation, covering all 24 of its resort hotels.
"I applaud Disney's compelling participation in the Florida Green Lodging Program,” said Governor Crist. "Through its commitment, Disney is demonstrating the importance of environmental stewardship to thousands of employees and millions of guests.”
Launched in 2004 by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Florida Green Lodging Program establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. The program is voluntary, is considered a national model, and is experiencing phenomenal growth. Florida is recommending designated properties in the Florida Green Lodging Program to companies and trade organizations seeking environmentally conscious lodging and convention facilities. To date, the program has more than 165 designated properties across the state and more than 335 applicants.
Disney Dedicated from Day One
"This is a milestone achievement for the program, and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts has been a part of the program since its inception,” said DEP Secretary Michael Sole. "With each new designation of a property in Florida, we are conserving our natural resources while at the same time strengthening the state's economy.”
On July 13, 2007, Governor Charlie Crist signed a suite of executive orders to reduce Florida's greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and remove market barriers for renewable energy technologies. One of the executive orders requires state agencies and departments to hold meetings and conferences only at hotels with Florida Green Lodging Program designation whenever possible.
According to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Florida has nearly 5,000 hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfast venues, with nearly 400,000 guestrooms serving 35 to 40 million guests annually. Including the nearly 24,000 rooms and 440,000 square feet of conference space at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, properties that together represent more than 50,000 hotel rooms are now flying the Florida Green Lodging flag.
Energy Waste Targeted
To receive designation, the Disney properties installed Energy Star rated equipment, energy efficient lighting, and timers on outdoor lighting, reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as utility costs. In addition, the resorts also implemented a towel and linen reuse program and low-flow faucets and showerheads, and hotels are recycling newspaper, office paper and aluminum cans. Some hotels have installed tinted/double-paned windows.
"Disney's commitment to conservation began with Walt Disney himself more than 50 years ago,” said Jerry Montgomery, senior vice president of Conservation & Environmental Sustainability for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. "Our participation in Florida's Green Lodging Program demonstrates our company's continued dedication to resource conservation which translates into sound business practices and positive experiences for our guests.”
Disney's BoardWalk Inn was the first hotel in Florida to receive the state's Green Lodging designation in 2004. Since then, the remaining 22 hotels at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney's Vero Beach Resort have also received the designation, culminating with Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort in April 2008.
Serve to Preserve Summit Planned
Governor Crist recently announced the 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change, June 25-26, 2008, at the InterContinental Miami. Designated in 2007, the InterContinental Miami is also a member of the Florida Green Lodging Program. Since its designation nearly a year ago, the property has saved more than 2.5 million gallons of water and conserved more than 325,000 kilowatt hours of electricity--resulting in savings of more than $65,000 for the facility.
The 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change will focus on stimulating economic development in clean technologies as well as greening Florida's business community. The 2008 summit will bring together industry leaders, policy makers, academics, scientists, environmentalists and the business community to explore opportunities for expanding Florida's renewable and alternative energy marketplace and greening the business community.
For more information on the 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change, visit MyFloridaClimate.com.