Tag Archives: Hotel Gavarni

Global Green Sustainable Design Awards, NYC

By: Alisa Ahmadian

Global Green held its 11th Annual Sustainable Design Awards Ceremony on the picturesque Hudson River at Pier 60 in New York City.

eBay’s John Donahoe

The event honored innovative leaders in bold environmental design that is transforming our international infrastructure for a greener future.Global Green is known for its pioneering policy and green building efforts in New Orleans post-Katrina.

The night began with an intimate cocktail reception where guests mingled, enjoyed organic spirits and perused displays ranging from green building supplies to exotic vacations. Aside from event honorees, other attendees included Entourage star and environmental activist Adrien Grenier and actor Edward Norton, who told us that he supported Global Green’s work because “no one has done more than Global Green to re-build New Orleans sustainably.” Heatherette designer Richie Rich also attended the event as well as former Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Judith Light.

Global Green USA Sustainable Design Awards, Dec. 6th, 2010, NYC.

The evening moved on to the main event: a formal dinner, with tables beautifully decorated with potted plants and herbs and a delicious organic dinner.

Global Green CEO & President Matt Petersen served as the Master of Ceremonies for the night, introducing honorees including:

• eBay Inc., John Donahoe, President & CEO – Organizational Design Award

• Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Sue Cischke, Group Vice President, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, Ford Motor Company – Product Design Award

• Sophia Bush and Austin Nichols– Entertainment Design Award

• Arianna Huffington, Co-founder & Editor-in-chief of Huffington Post – Media Design Award

• Wade Greene, Philanthropic Advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation- Policy Design Award

Sophia Bush and Austin Nichols
Speaking about the successful launch of Huffington Post Green [of which Greening Hollywood was one of the foundational contributing columns], Arianna Huffington underlined the urgency of the launch, saying that “green is more important now than ever. Washington is full of ‘flat-earthers’ that are waging a war on science, evolution, everything.” Sam Champion of Good Morning America broke up the night with jokes, saying that he was “here to support Global Green, but I’m leaving soon to go to bed!” due to his 5 AM call time.
Adrian Grenier

One Tree Hill co-stars Sophia Bush and Austin Nichols re-hashed their eye-opening trip to Louisiana following the BP oil spill this spring, telling us about the anger they felt when visiting beaches “that were totally controlled by BP-we felt like BP completely took over, and we wanted to do something about it.” Other honorees voiced similar passion and inspiration to make change, including Wade Green, a longtime anti-arms political advocate. Wade said that “after thirty years, I am still committed to working for solutions for peace on local, state and federal levels.” John Donahoe of eBay echoed the sentiment, stating that he is “constantly amazed by the power of the global community.”

Rounding out the inspiring evening, Matt Petersen took the stage once again to announce that over $400,000 had been raised during the event to benefit Global Green’s widespread international campaigns.

Sponsors of the event included Hotel Gavarni, Paris’s first independent hotel to be European Ecolabel certified.

To learn more about Global Green, please visit http://www.globalgreen.org

Alisa Ahmadian works for Cook + Fox in environmental building and architecture in New York City. All photos credited to Alisa Ahmadian

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Green Is Good – Radio Interview Hotel Gavarni’s Xavier Moraga and Yahoo’s Christina Page

Hotel Gavarni’s Xavier Moraga and Yahoo!’s Christina Page – November 19, 2010

When Xavier Moraga began working at Paris’ upscale boutique Hotel Gavarni, he immediately began conceptualizing ways to green the legacy hotel. Today, the hotel is the first independent hotel in Paris to receive the European Ecolabel, a strict certification award for the greenest hotels in Europe.

Moraga was inspired to green his workplace following a trip along the Silk Road through Tibet. Seeing the ecological damage in the region really changed his entire mindset, even though he was raised to respect and conserve his environment.

“It takes teamwork,” Moraga says of Hotel Gavarni’s green status, which is reevaluated each and every year for European Ecolabel status. “Every person on the [Hotel Gavarni team] is really committed to making it green.”

Podcast: Play in new windowDownload (48.9MB)

Yahoo Christina Page Hotel Gavarnis Xavier Moraga and Yahoo!s Christina PageChristina Page, Director of Climate and Energy Strategy at Yahoo!, is tasked with reducing the footprint of a website network that serves more than 600 million users.

“We really ‘walk the talk’ as much as we possibly can,” Page says. “Yahoo! Green is the number one green-content website on the Web right now. There is great green content to be found on virtually all Yahoo! properties.”

Page has overseen Yahoo!’s data centers become increasingly more efficient. She claims that Yahoo!’s data centers are 40% more efficient than the competition, use 90% less water and cost far less than most others. The amount of water saved in Yahoo!’s eco-friendly data centers is enough to provide drinking water for approximately 200,000 people for a year.

Podcast: Play in new windowDownload (48.9MB)

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Greening Paris: Hotel Gavarni In The Parisian Chic 16th Arrondissement

Hotel Gavarni is the greenest little hotel in Paris. But you wouldn’t know it unless you a) did your research a b) took some time to have a conversation with hotel manager Xavier Moraga, Hotel Gavarni’s own eco-chic Parisian.

Tucked away just off Rue du Passy in the chic shopping district of the 16th arrondissement, this 25 room hotel is luxurious and at the same time offers an easy and relaxing charm that is both welcoming and discreet…and eco-friendly. It carries the European Eco-Label rating, equivalent to North America’s Green Keys.

The staff is there to help with all your requests, whether that’s picking you up at the airport in a hybrid Prius, getting you instantly connected to their complimentary Wi-Fi or guiding you on how to make the 5 minute walk to the Musee’ de la Mode at the Trocadero or the 10 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, they’ll do so graciously and with good manners. They’ll also readily engage you in conversations about the state of solar paneling on buildings in Paris (problematic because many of the buildings are heritage or historical) and in gray water management, a topic often reserved for the most sincere eco-ists.

Parisian Green Philosophy

Xavier Moraga’s green philosophy is to show guests how easy – and subtle – it is to be green in our every day lives and thereby have a big impact on the environment.

He believes that talking about ecology in general, not backed up by actions, no matter how small, and “guilting” people into ecology is not the way to go. Not if you want to see results. The better way is to lead by example and to make those examples enjoyable.

“In Paris we can’t change the facade of buildings. We have no right touch the facade, add solar panels, change the windows, things like that. We can’t do structural changes but we can do systemic changes. A hotel this size is like a house. All our ‘small’ actions can resonate with our guests so that they can copy the actions at home,” said Moraga.

Hotel Gavarni, like all good luxury hotels, practices understated hospitality in an atmosphere of quiet elegance. So it follows that you’ll only notice the hotel’s eco-aspects when you really pay attention.

For example, each of the rooms boasts a jacuzzi bathtub. The warm jets of water pulse on your tired muscles as you lie there, your neck and head cushioned on the back of the fitted soft pillow. You’d never guess that all of the faucets in the hotel’s bathrooms have been replaced with valves that save about half the water usage of the average Parisian bathroom. Each of these valves cost about 5 Euros. And by saving half the water usage, they save about half the water bill.

Their complimentary organic breakfasts feature fresh, organic fruits from the market like seasonal melons, cherries, oranges. There are farm fresh eggs and “bio”(organic) jams to accompany your warm croissants and aromatic, fair trade coffee. The hotel has established relationships with local organic farmers so they buy direct. In fact, the hotel even serves as a distribution center for the upscale neighborhood’s Community Supported Agriculture co-op, a program that is so popular there’s a waiting list to get on.

Green Means Think For Yourself!

Moraga emphasized over and again how being green is simply re-thinking the way you do things. “It’s thinking for yourself,” he said. “Even if you’re not rich, genius, famous, you can still make a difference.”

For example, the hotel’s lights are all LED lights. This switch-over resulted in 10X less energy consumption and a savings of 21% in their energy bill.

Using natural cleaning supplies was also a shift towards the simple, the natural. Vinegar, it turns out, is one of the best cleaners to prohibit the lime build up caused by the hard Parisian water. And vinegar is not just a safe and non-toxic cleaner, it’s also very cost-effective.

Being green isn’t simply a job for Moraga. Like so many of the green tribe, it’s a way of life, it’s in the DNA. When he’s not at the Gavarni, he and his family are building three apartment buildings and two houses that are all environmentally friendly, even implementing gray water and natural building materials. “It’s a small step for man, a huge step for mankind,” said Moraga with a smile when he described his personal projects. He’s also just returned from a trek to the Antarctic where he documented the pristine natural habitat of seals and penguins through fabulous photos. “People say the Antarctic is ‘all white,’ it’s not…It’s blue!”

Moraga has given green a lot of thought as it pertains to Paris’s hotel industry. He’s come up with a number of good questions, one of which is why don’t the tourist booking agencies, such as Thomas Cook, have a booking search filter for how green a hotel is? For example, people search for hotels based on cost, based on star ratings, so why not based on an Eco-Label rating? After all, it is well documented that the tasteful traveler today is ever increasingly choosing eco options.

He has goals to match his progressive thinking. “We’d love to get the chance to speak with the Minister of Tourism so we could talk about undertaking a campaign about what hotels are doing in Paris to be green. For example, to get a 5-star rating, a hotel should be required to implement at least 10% eco-friendly practices,” he suggests.

Progressively Green: Passy, Paris

A quick walk around the Passy neighborhood reveals even more good ideas. Across the street from the hotel is one of Paris’s “Velib’” which are the bicycles on demand. For about 1 Euro per day, you can take one of the bikes, use it, then drop it off at the bicycle station nearest your next destination. On a Sunday afternoon, there were hundreds of Parisians and tourists alike on these bikes swarming the streets near the Eiffel Tower and the Trocadero. Municipal programs such as these show that when the city and the citizens are on the same page, great (green) things can happen.

A direction to go in from here would be to focus on building energy retrofits throughout Paris. Moraga is quick to agree. In a city whose buildings predominantly fall under historical preservation, demolition is out of the question. Energy retrofits, including window replacement, however, would demonstrably cut down on energy consumption and also GHG emissions, of which buildings generate even more than transportation.

“It would be great, for example, if there were tax incentives and favorable terms for bank loans taken out specifically for energy efficiency building retrofits,” suggested Moraga. “This could also potentially create a number of good green jobs,” he noted.

Hotel Gavarni is located at 5, rue Gavarni. www.gavarni.com also www.greenhotelparis.com Find them also on Facebook.

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