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Greener Blog is all about corporate environmental issues, green facility tips, new ideas, and industry news. We invite you to participate in our conversation by posting your comments and sharing with others.


Greener Results Helps Develop the National Restaurant Association’s Greener Restaurants Program

We are pleased to announce that we worked with the National Restaurant Association to develop its new Greener Restaurants program, which was featured at the NRA Show in Chicago May 22-25. We helped the National Restaurant Association design the voluntary framework for the program, developed much of its technical content and resources, and helped manage the design and implementation of the website and database.

We were chosen to work on the project because of our experience in developing voluntary, pollution-prevention-based recognition programs. For example, Greener Results helped develop Virginia Green, Virginia’s successful program to encourage green practices in all sectors of that state’s tourism industry. We also helped develop Maryland Green Travel which launched a similar voluntary program in 2009. Both of these programs provide recognition opportunities for their participants, but depend upon active consumer involvement to ensure that facilities observe the green practices to which they have committed.

For the full press release on this new program, click here.


Green Drinks for the Chesapeake Bay

Thursday, April 22 is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and in celebration as well as a mode of action Green Drinks chapters throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed will be coming together for the second annual Green Drinks for the Chesapeake Bay. Each chapter will celebrate in their own way but together will be concentrating action a grassroots movement to influence legislation and government regulation to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay. The goal this year is to top the world attendance record of 1,800 set in Melbourne, Australia, and to rally support for action to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Annapolis Green Drinks, along with Virginia Beach Green Drinks, are the at the helm of the coordinated "toast" and call to action, with each Green Drinks group from Pennsylvania to Virginia meeting simultaneously, each in its respective location. To find a location nearest you, click here.


Virginia Green Gazette

The Virginia Green program was originally developed while Greener Results director Tom Griffin was working for the Virginia DEQ. Greener Results now serves as lead consultant to the program and Tom Griffin serves as spokesperson for the the program and coordinates the efforts of the Virginia Green Advisory Committee. Virginia Green is a statewide program that works to reduce the environmental impacts of Virginia's tourism industry and also provides recognition, guidance, and criteria for all sectors of tourism to self-certify their green activities.

One of the resources that Virginia Green provides is a regular email newsletter, the Virginia Green Gazette, which includes helpful updates, links, and information for any business going green. We'll share a link to each newsletter here as it provides relevant tips and information for anyone passionate about going green. Or, you're welcome to subscribe for yourself.


The Influence of Sustainability on Consumer Choice

In the 2009 CMIGreen Traveler Study, the document opens by posing the question 'how' will sustainability influence consumer choice? The study acknowledges that it's not a matter of whether or not sustainability will be a consideration for consumers, but that on some level it will indeed be a determining factor for consumers. Thanks to rising public awareness of sustainability issues, green facilities, and environmental awareness in general, the tourism and hospitality has new opportunities to attract consumers whose preferences and travel behaviors are in concert with sustainable facilities, services, and products.

The study is a lengthy document with the following summary:
"Travel and hospitality consumers are rapidly and enthusiastically becoming educated on the issues, and demanding greater social and environmental engagement from destinations and suppliers. There is a shift in consumer consciousness that is resulting in a rethinking of consumption patterns toward more responsible, earth-friendly alternatives. Tourism and hospitality industry leaders are similarly embracing sustainability to establish competitive advantage, enhance brand value and drive sales. This is moving market share for those taking initial steps."

How are you as a tourism and hospitality professional responding to this shift in consumer consciousness? You first must have an understanding of the green consumer and the CMI study tackles the task of creating a green traveler profile. Not surprisingly, they found there are various "shades" of green travelers. The various profiles are created based on responses to a series of questions and behavior categories including:
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Green Purchases
  • Choosing Money or the Environment
  • Use of Environmental Media
  • Attendance at Events
It's worth scanning the study and answering basic questions about your own facility and services. Do your customers fit within the profiles described? If so, how are you catering to their green travel preferences?

Responding to the shift in consumer consciousness is a seemingly overwhelming but necessary process. It is more than a list of tasks to "go green;" it is a parallel shift in tourism and hospitality consciousness. We know this because sustainability is part of our own business--it is something we understand, teach, consult on, develop, guide, implement, and support.


Greener Results Helps Green Restaurants Get Recognition

A recent Restaurant Report on NBC12 in Richmond gave some much deserved recognition to one of Richmond's local restaurants that has gone green in alignment with the Virginia Green voluntary self-certification program. Virginia Green is a program that provides recognition, guidance, and criteria for all sectors of tourism to self-certify their green activities. Virginia Green was developed by Greener Results director Tom Griffin and the company has long been the lead consultant for the state program. With more restaurants now participating in Virginia Green, the program will have more local visibility and impact.

NBC12 goes behind the scenes at The Republic Restaurant and Bar and does a great job at highlighting the green facets of the restaurants as well as allowing owner Rick Lyons to speak to the financial and environmental benefits to going green. See for yourself how easy it is to achieve greener results.


The Stimulus is Killing Green Business!

Preposterous!  How could that be?!  Look, don’t get me wrong.  I’m as excited about the funding for green jobs and weatherization and other environmental programs as the next environmental consultant.  But until the melting pot of good ideas at the state and local levels finally proposes a series of programs and the good federal folks finally approve of those myriad of initiatives -- no one is going to spend an extra dime on sustainability services or weatherization or renewable energies!  

Heck, think about it from the homeowner’s perspective – We’ve been hearing about how great and cost-effective solar-powered hot water heaters are – and now we’re ready to buy one.  And if you bought it today, you would get the federal tax credit for it.  But who knows how much your state is getting ready to tack on through its new programs and incentives – and if they go into effect July 1 or later and you purchased it today, you’d be out of luck! 

Well it’s not that simple across the board, but many folks in the business are experiencing this phenomena, this stimulus lull.  On the other side of this sword is the fact that even though we’re not actually “selling” the products and services, it doesn’t mean we’re not busy!  Heck, everyone in the world wants to learn more, get proposals, and be ready for when the stimulus-funded programs and incentives are finally in place.  My friends in the solar business are writing proposals every day, and not selling a lick!  Interest in products and sustainability and greening initiatives is at an all time high…..and we’re all just hoping that the rules of the game will be in place soon….and that all of this green talk is actually leading to and supporting our green jobs!  Let’s hope so!J       


Lamp Recycling: Green Litmus Paper

Do you remember litmus paper from chemistry class? Blue to red indicates acid; red to blue indicates a base.…or something like that. In a similar way, basic recycling of cans, paper, etc. is typically viewed as the first indicator of environmental commitment. In the unwritten Rules of Going Green, you shouldn’t exactly be espousing how wonderful your new LEED-rated building is going to be if you haven’t even established basic recycling at your other properties.

Lamp recycling? Well, let’s just say that if you’re recycling lamps, it’s a pretty good indicator that your organization actually understands its regulatory responsibilities AND it’s probably fairly committed to the environment. Not recycling lamps? I’ve been on dozens of hazardous wastes / EPA inspections in my day, and RCRA inspectors just plain bristle up and start sharpening their pencils when they figure out that lamps aren’t being managed properly. Not recycling lamps is a clear indication that you really don’t understand regulatory requirements; that you’re not focused on the environment; and you probably aren’t running a very efficient building in any way!

Lamp recycling is a critical measure of greenness – because if you’re not recycling lamps, there are almost certainly other hazardous materials that aren’t being managed properly. Paint solvents – well they can go down the drain right? Old floor waxes and cleaning supplies - down the drain too or right in the dumpster? How about this bottle of mercury I found in the basement? You’re supposed to recycle batteries?

When I work with a company and I find out that they’re recycling lamps, I know that we have plenty to build upon….and that we can soon help to get that company credit for its efforts. Build in a commitment to recycle more and reduce wastes and energy and water consumption over time; and you’ve soon got an award-winning program on your hands!


Getting Your Facility to Go Green

Getting a factory or corporate campus to run smoothly is a monumental feat, so facility managers have good reason for pause when they consider tweaking their operations. But factors ranging from cost savings to environmental concern are prompting these managers to “green” their facilities, i.e. to make them more environmentally sustainable.

Sometimes the greening process begins with a directive from management and a healthy budget; sometimes it’s just a departmental initiative to make changes in the physical plant without affecting the service level or the bottom line. Either way, chances are you can make a big difference. Here are some places to start:

Full Article


Lynn Forsman's toast to the bay: Our glasses are half full

Chesapeake Bay Health Fatigue is all around us - from doom and gloom about dead zones to reports about failing to meet improvement targets set 25 years ago.

It's enough to make you feel hopeless and depressed. We believe that by working together we can turn things around. We see the proverbial glass not as half empty, but as half full.

Our ancestors came here by water. Many of us live here because of the water. Who, then, has a greater stake in the health of the Chesapeake Bay than we who live in the Sailing Capital?

Full Article


How Green Can You B&B?

Grace Manor Inn, Richmond, VA

It was the Summer of 2007 when it hit – the Green Tornado, or better known to her friends as Dawn Schick. Dawn and Albert Schick had been operating Grace Manor Inn in Richmond’s Historic Fan District for just over 4 years. Albert and Dawn had just taken the trash out – again! It was amazing how much waste their 4-guestroom operation generated! That very day, Dawn said, “Albert, we are going green”; and Albert said, “Yes, honey”, and the Green Tornado has been whirling ever since!

Full Article

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