The Charles Hotel is committed to the health of the environment and hopes to extend the awareness to our guests and employees.
"Environmentally friendly practices are not only important to us, but crucial to our future. We feel that awareness is the greatest tool available to improving the public's "earth friendly" practices, says General Manager, Alex Attia. The Charles Hotel displays these earth friendly practices in many ways, including its food and beverage operations, alternate transportation options and running an energy efficient hotel.
The Charles Hotel offers their employees several options for transportation. The hotel helps to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted into the environment by offering MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) passes at a discount for all employees. The hotel also provides secure and covered bicycle parking for employees, as well as shower and changing facilities.
The policies of good earthkeeping are exemplified not only in transportation options, but also in the engineering and housekeeping systems and the food and beverage operations. The hotel maintains energy efficient water coolers and operates a "green room" program designed to conserve water and reduce phosphors from detergents that are released back into the water system. The "green room" program gives guests the opportunity to reuse their linens rather than have them replaced daily.
Chef Davis and the Henrietta's Table staff are dedicated to earth-friendly practices. As the hotel's Executive Chef, Davis enthusiastically supports local farmers and local fisherman, buying only products that he hand-chooses with the assistance of local purveyors and refusing to use genetically-engineered food. He is a member of Chefs Collaborative – a group that partners with local farmers, ranchers, and artisanal producers to develop new systems that allow them to stay in business while providing farm-fresh produce directly to kitchen doors. He purchases food from artisanal producers who he believes are preserving valuable traditions, sustainable agriculture and aquaculture, humane animal husbandry and well-managed fisheries. In 2006, Henrietta's Table purchased over $175,000 in food products directly from Farmer's and over 85 percent of its food purchases came from companies that share the philosophies of sustainable agriculture.
The hotel also implements a comprehensive recycling program in partnership with Save That Stuff, a local compost service. All trash is sorted for biodegradable and compostable waste and is picked up three to seven days a week, depending on production. There is also a devoted recycling program at the hotel. Every office in the building has recycling bins that are emptied daily. The recycling results for 2008 showcases the hard work of all of the employees. With every employee doing his or her part, the hotel has made great accomplishments, that when measured, include:
Other measures that are taken to conserve water and electricity at the hotel include expanding the EMS (energy management system) controls and installing VSD (variable speed drive) on a chiller. The hotel expanded the EMS to allow tighter control over the VAV (variable air volume) systems and meeting rooms. This allows the hotel to schedule start and stop times, monitor equipment functions, set high and low temperatures, monitor cooling towers, track BTU (British thermal unit) consumption for tenants, balance temperatures from space to space and schedule for occupied and unoccupied spaces. The hotel installed the variable speed drive for additional savings during low demand periods.
The VDS modulates electricity going to the motor. The motor will slow or speed up based on the drives it request. It is very rare that a motor is needed to run at its full capacity. When requested to run slower, the hotel uses less energy. These efforts come as no surprise to those familiar with the environmentally friendly practices of the Charles Hotel. In 2006, the hotel was awarded the national "Good Earthkeeping" award by AH&LA (American Hotel and Lodging Association). The Charles Hotel has always been a leader when it comes to "good earthkeeping" and is committed to finding new ways to improve its environmental practices. The city of Cambridge's GoGreen Awards acknowledges businesses and organizations that are taking environmental action through exceptional earth-friendly practices. In May 2008, Henrietta's Table received the GoGreen Award for "Waste Reduction for a Small Business", further honoring the restaurant's commitment to the environment.
The Charles Hotel has recently implemented three new green programs that will benefit guests of the establishment. The first one is the Hotel Bike program, which allows hotel guests complimentary use of our Electra Amsterdam Classic Bicycles. The bicycles are equipped with shopping baskets, and they allow guests to take in the scenery of Cambridge and Boston in a fun and more efficient way. The parking garage of the hotel, which is managed by ProPark America, is equipped with both a "Juice Bar" and small car detection system, both of which aim to reward those who show dedication to greener lifestyles.
The "Juice Bar" allows customers to charge their hybrid and electric cars for free and will keep an extensive inventory of back-up adapters on hand for popular EV models. The nanoMAX™ small car detection system measures vehicles entering the garage and provides a unique parking rate based upon the vehicle's actual size. Vehicles that fall within the preset size parameters programmed into the nanoMAX™ sensors and encoded onto the dispensed parking ticket, will receive a discounted parking rate. The Charles always looks towards the future, and these green initiatives provide awareness of the impact on the earth.