June 30, 2008

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa “Greener” Program Well Underway to Help Reduce Environmental Impact and Preserve Natural Resources

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa's "Be Greener" program holds several "Green" initiatives. The Resort is well known for "Keeping the Essence of Arizona" and equally as well known for being one of the largest Resorts in Arizona. In keeping with their reputation they are honoring that essence and that responsibility with several initiatives that protect and conserve the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.

Their "Be Greener" program, launched in early 2007, was initiated to help set an example and lead the way in the hospitality industry for the State. Through programs such as energy conservation, waste reduction, water conservation, alternate transportation, staff and guest awareness, and community service projects, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is dedicated to preserving that essence of Arizona it is known for.

"We know this is a process. You can't be 100 percent green overnight, but we are 100 percent dedicated to doing our best and looking for new ways to do our business and be 'greener,'" said Managing Director, J. Bruce Lange. "We know it's our responsibility to do the right thing."

The Resort implemented an environmental policy and named a committee that meets on a regular basis to discuss operational opportunities and implement those changes. The committee also takes the initiative in training staff and promoting awareness. A key program the committee has initiated is the recycling program that recycles cardboard and paper. They have just rolled out a program that recycles plastics, aluminum, and food waste. They also only work with printing companies that are certified as responsible companies with reforestation and rehabilitation projects in place and print on recycled paper.

Some of the largest impacts that are being made are through The Westin Kierland's "Greener Meetings" program. Specifically, these impacts include paper recycling, digital copies of meeting materials, and a reduction in plastic water bottle consumption as a standard and several options to customize their meeting with other green tactics.

"Our groups know we are willing to work with them on anything they would like to do to reduce the carbon footprint of their program," said Director of Sales & Marketing, Liz Franzese. "We offer several standards for 'greener' meetings, but we know that options and ideas are endless so we are ready and willing to meet the challenge of any meeting, group, or event."

Energy conservation in a property like The Westin Kierland is key to reducing its carbon footprint. Guestroom sensors regulate temperature according to activity in the room, meeting room temperatures centrally controlled in accordance with meeting schedules, and a majority of light bulbs have been switched out with CFL bulbs.

"We've been actively researching and implementing operational change for a few years now and we've made great strides with what we've done so far," said Director of Engineering, Bob Cisco. "We still have a long way to go, but every day we are finding out new, smarter, 'greener' ways of operating."

The Resort has had a linen and towel reuse program in place for years and last year implemented an eco-culinary program eliminating trans fats completely from all its food served and incorporating super foods into its menu offerings. Another key component to the green program's success is staff awareness and their impact. The Westin Kierland associates have made a very considerable impact just in the way they do business, get to and from work, and take their knowledge home with them for changes in how they operate in their personal lives and their homes.

"Each associate makes an effort to print less paper and work more digitally. They participate in our Trip Reduction program, and bring their own coffee mug or water container to reduce the usage of water bottles," said Brian Dell'Ergo, Human Resources Specialist and green committee chair. "We give them tips on green living. Last year, the associate cafeteria eliminated Styrofoam and paper cups completely. Associates also turn their computers and lights off when not in use and recycle all paper and cardboard. That alone makes a tremendous impact."

The Agave Spa at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa has been a leader in functioning "greener" for several years. They have been using organic products and working with companies who provide environmentally friendly products and services. The spa also recycles all of its plastic, glass and paper from all of the products it uses for treatments. By 2009, the spa will be working with vendors and partners whose businesses are either completely organic or environmentally conscious for more than 75% of its business.

"We feel operating environmentally friendly and being an organic, wellness spa can be one and the same. We always get curious questions when our guests realize our products are organic, we use battery-operated candles, and even our nail polish is vegan!" said Loren Anderson, Spa Director. "We are moving to all corn-based disposable cups and products for food and beverage by the end of the year."

This philosophy transcends to the Kierland Golf Club as well. "The golf course has always had a relationship with the Audubon Society to help protect the natural wildlife on the Resort grounds; in the last year, we have begun to recycle our grass clippings and yard waste and have implemented a recycling program throughout the course," said Director of Golf, Kipp Bates. "We recycled over 500 tons of yard waste through a local compost processing plant that turns it into natural fertilizer."

"We also try to minimize the amount of turf that needs to be maintained through the use of water. We use a lot of natural preserve landscaping and have been transitioning what used to be watered and maintained turf back to a natural desert terrain. We have been looking for new ways to use solar power to run our golf carts and beverage carts and several other ways we can contribute such as environmentally friendly packaging for our food on our beverage carts and course food outlets," adds Bates.

Even The Westin Kierland's FUN program that focuses on the experience of the leisure traveler has implemented change. They work with the Phoenix Zoo to educate their smallest guests on how to preserve wildlife and have respect for their habitats. Programs that are currently planned and underway are lessons in the environment educating the younger traveler.

"We understand and believe we are helping to create a new generation of individuals that are connected to travel and understand their individual impact," said Director of FUN, Josh Riffe.

Goals for the future are also key components in The Westin Kierland's green program. "We are looking at ways to solar heat our pools, buy more organic and local foods, and partner with vendors and companies that have solid environmental policies in place, and reduce, reuse, and of course recycle more and more," Lange said. "I'm excited to report that we are currently recycling over one ton of waste per day. We have officially reduced what we send to landfill by over 50%. It will only get better from here."

The Westin Kierland's Environmental Policy

The Westin Kierland Resort is committed to protecting our environment and preserving our precious natural resources. We believe being green is not a definitive objective but understand it's a process of being "greener." We are dedicated to the process and promise to promote a lifestyle that ensures our environmental impact on the world around us is minimal and as positive as possible.

We have integrated various methods of greener living into our daily lives and encourage our guests and team members to do the same. We reduce, reuse, recycle where possible. We support our vendors, neighbors and local merchants and do our best to promote the good work they are doing throughout the community. By blending an upscale, luxury Resort experience with low impact living practices, we offer our guests the peace of mind they are doing business with an organization that has the environment in mind.

We are in the midst of great change and look to our customers, associates, and partners to help us navigate through this change and support us in our efforts.

About The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is a four-diamond Resort located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona. The Resort features 732 rooms, 55 suites and 32 casitas; 175,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space; eight food and beverage venues; a full-service spa; an elaborate water park and lazy river; Westin Kids Club(R); and the 27-hole Kierland Golf Club. As an added benefit, The Westin Kierland is adjacent to Kierland Commons, one of the hottest shopping and dining districts in the Valley. For more information about The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa please visit www.kierlandresort.com or call 480-624-1000.