Green Travelogue: The Palm Beaches

by Amy on March 2, 2015

Winter has been blowing through the mid-Atlantic with a depressing ferociousness and it brought snow, sleet, and biting cold with it. Using my husband’s trip to a conference as an opportunity for a quick defrost, I embarked on a quick trip to West Palm Beach, Florida.

Blue Skies and 77 deg Blue Skies and 77 deg

Having flown into Ft. Lauderdale we took the airport shuttle to the #Tri-Rail Station for the ride to West Palm Beach. Clean, beautiful stations with on-time, efficient trains. A quick walk to the hotel from the station and we had arrived. A number of our fellow hotel guests took Tri-Rail throughout the week to get to beaches along the line.

The Palm Beach Trail Shop  delivered two bicycles to the hotel. We used them to explore both West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. Although it’s downtown is filled with many restaurants, West Palm Beach is not very bicycle friendly. If you cycle there you will be riding with traffic that is not used to sharing roads with cyclists. Be aware. Palm Beach on the other hand has some of the most beautiful bike paths I have ever seen. They are well paved, clean and safe. The Lake Trail along the Intracoastal Waterway is especially

Mangrove at the Flagler Museum Mangrove at the Flagler Museum A view along the bike trail A view along the bike trail

beautiful filled with tropical plants, warm breezes and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view.

We flew back out of West Palm Beach Airport and into Philadelphia. I was surprised that the only recycling bin at West Palm was for paper. Philly on the other hand was all set to sort all of the recyclables generated in the airport and advertised it well.

Recycle bin at Philadelphia Airport Recycle bin at Philadelphia Airport

Hotel
The Florida Green Lodging Program is run by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The designated focuses on five areas of sustainability: Communication and Education (Customers, Employees, Public), Waste Reduction, Reuse and Recycling, Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency, and Indoor Air Quality. The designation is awarded for three year periods. Our hotel was awarded a One Palm designation in 2009. Although the staff was very kind, the rooms clean and comfortable, the West Palm Beach Marriott  is not at the pinnacle of green but there is plenty of opportunity:

• Recycling:

In room leave behind card. In room leave behind card.

According to our room card, there was a recycling bin in the room but none was found. When we asked the chambermaid we were told that “there was none of that here”. There also was no evidence of a recycling container on the Chambermaid carts. All waste went to one place – the trash. There was a recycling bin the lobby for paper, glass and bottles.

Lobby recycling bin Lobby recycling bin

• Water Conservation: WaterSense certified aerators are measured at 1.5GPM; the hotel uses 2.2GPM. WaterSense showerheads are designated at 2.0GPM; the hotel’s showerheads were unmarked but the stream was strong enough to make it difficult to stand up while showering.
• Energy Efficiency: The hotel does a very good job of using energy efficient lamps and turning off lamps when not needed but the hotel is missing a huge opportunity on its roof for solar generation. Imagine the roof tops filled with panels – that would make a huge dent in its electric bill and in its carbon footprint.

Even more space Even more space And even more space And even more space Look at all the space for solar panels Look at all the space for solar panels

• Indoor Air Quality: The hotel air quality seemed comfortable.
• Communication and Education: The hotel used in-room leave behind cards to inform guests about environmental efforts.
• Food: The new Executive Chef, Mark Henry, is a dynamo. He has established a densely planted, attractive vegetable and herb garden in the hotel’s courtyard that provides ingredients for the Bistro Ten Zero One Restaurant. His description of a stir fry using pineapple sage leaves was mouthwatering.

About the chef About the chef Chefs Garden Chefs Garden Tomatoes Tomatoes Veggie Garden Veggie Garden

• Drink: Every day the chef puts different flavored water in the lobby  to quench the thirst of sun parched guests. The water

Water Water

is dispensed using non-recyclable cups – hopefully Chef Henry will rectify this soon.

Overall it was not the greenest trip we ever made but it was warm and the icicles melted quickly. I see blue skies and lots of sustainable opportunity for the future of West Palm Beach.

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