Chattanoogan Hotel & Conference Center This past June, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen bestowed the Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award on the city of Chattanooga's innovative Green Lodging program, the brainchild of Tom Cupo, general manager of The Chattanoogan Hotel & Conference Center (with 199 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting space), working with the Greater Chattanooga Hospitality Association. M&C recently chatted with Cupo about the program and his love of the city in which he lives and works.
What is Green Lodging? It's an initiative to encourage hotels, bed and breakfasts and other lodging facilities in our city to be sensitive to their impact on the environment, and to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. It's a voluntary program, but for a property to be a certified member, it must submit to audits from an independent environmental consulting company called Skye Con, to ensure that all minimum standards are in place.
What practices does this include? We're talking about hotels offering optional linen service, recycling and reducing waste, conserving energy -- and the lessons we've learned can apply to any city. For example, local power suppliers can be great sources of ways to save energy and money. And we use a program that employs special-needs adults to separate materials for recycling; I'm sure such services exist all around the country. Our efforts are so successful, the Tennessee Hospitality Association has adopted it statewide as the Tennessee Green Hospitality certification program.
When you're not saving the earth, what do you like to do? I enjoy coaching lacrosse in a local school, and I just love this amazing city. Chattanooga has its own Riverwalk along the Tennessee River with hiking and bike lanes, and then there's the annual Head of the Hooch Regatta, featuring 9,000 rowers. Now that's a sight!