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In Travel & Visitors Guide

Today, The Pfister is saving over $10,000 a year on just energy from corridor lights, which are required to stay on 24 hours a day.

Pfister Hotel earns Travel Green WI certification


While environmental impact reduction is practiced globally, Wisconsin stands out nationally as the first state to develop a green travel program sponsored by a state tourism agency.

Travel Green Wisconsin is a voluntary certification program that recognizes tourism businesses for reducing their environmental footprint through eco-friendly practices.

Certification requires a business earn a minimum of 30 points in categories including waste reduction, reuse and recycling; energy efficiency, water conservation and wastewater management; air quality; wildlife and landscape; transportation; purchasing and local community benefits.

Since launching in 2007, more than 200 businesses have been certified, most recently Milwaukee's The Pfister Hotel, which scored more than double the requirement with 63 points.

The Pfister General Ganager Joe Kurth says that the hotel already met the 30-point certification requirement with its existing practices when he discovered Travel Green Wisconsin, but he wanted to take it further.

The hotel now features compact fluorescent light bulbs, Energy Star light fixtures, windows and appliances and low-flow bathroom fixtures in the guest rooms. Kurth also implemented a linen reuse program, which allows guests the option of reusing towels and bedding rather than receiving fresh ones daily.

The hotel gained extra points in the communication and education sectors by ensuring all of its business associates were involved with the program.

"The biggest key for us has been a consistent focus on reducing our energy consumption over the years. It makes business sense and it makes environmental sense."

Another factor, he says, was staying conscious of guests' needs and expectations; just as people want to be green in their homes, they also desire a low-carbon commitment when traveling.

While it might sound like an overhaul of modern amenities for a building built in 1893, Kurth says he's made maintaining the historic charm and value of the hotel a priority.

"Compact fluorescents now come not just as a curly light, but also in the shape of a light bulb. In the past you wouldn't have been able to consider it from an appearance standpoint, but we're now able to take up to 90 percent of that energy usage out and not have any difference in appearance to the guest, which, in a historic building, is critical."

Today, The Pfister is saving over $10,000 a year on just energy from corridor lights, which are required to stay on 24 hours a day.

And for the holiday season, the famously decorated hotel lobby is adorned in glowing LED lights, an option that uses one-tenth the energy of traditional holiday lights and last up to 10 years.

"We're trying to stay on the cutting edge," says Kurth. "We're continuing to look for any opportunity to increase (our score) as standards increase. The great thing about the Travel Green Wisconsin program is that it is in partnership with business and is meant as an educational program to tell people that it makes business sense (to reduce) your environmental footprint. We're really excited about it."


Talkbacks

ThePfisterHotel.com | Jan. 2, 2009 at 3:24 p.m. (report)

We are very excited to add the Wisconsin Travel Green certification to the historic elegance of the Pfister. This is another opportunity for us to partner with the community and environment in being a leader within our great city. We look forward to welcoming you to our hotel! Joe Kurth - General Manager; The Pfister Hotel

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Greener Milwaukee | Dec. 29, 2008 at 10:12 a.m. (report)

Sweet article. I remember when Travel Green first came out, I was so surprised that there was nothing else like it in the country. Wisconsin can truly be green leaders & if Milwaukee gets it in gear, it can be the emerald city on the fresh coast.

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