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Published July 29, 2008 11:04 AM

Dems to leave behind a greener Denver

The Democratic Party has garnered praise and a fair amount of derision for its attempt to hold an Earth-friendly convention this year in Denver. Especially, event planners have been ribbed for their request that caterers provide food that comes in "at least three of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white.' Garnishes could not be counted toward the colors."

But the convention to be held for a few days in August has provoked changes that will bring permanent greening to meetings in the Mile-High City. Case in point: The headquarters hotel of the Democratic National Convention.

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The Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center announced today that due to recent changes in its operations, the property would aim for Green Seal certification by the end of this year, making it the first such-recognized hotel in Colorado.

So how did managers green a 1,100-room convention hotel? The Hyatt Regency Denver has focused on saving water. To that end, the property has installed low-flow fixtures and "climate appropriate" landscaping that requires far less watering.

The hotel has shrunk its C02 footprint by changing to compact fluorescent bulbs, emphasizing local produce, reclaiming heat from used laundry water and using a hydronic plate cooling system that cools the hotel with outside air.

Further, the property has placed recycling bins in all guestrooms, replaced hotel-wide newspaper delivery with newspaper racks on each floor, and has become the first Denver hotel to use a "waste management single stream recycling compactor."

The staff at the Denver Hyatt even has been organized into green committees to drive more eco-friendly changes.

"Sparked by the passion of our staff and our customers, and Hyatt's desire to be a part of the solution, we felt compelled to develop and implement long-term sustainability programs that would have lasting, positive results," said John Schafer, general manager of the hotel. "Living in Colorado and waking up to one of the most magnificent views every day is a constant reminder of our connection to the natural world."

For planners, in addition to proximity to the Colorado Convention Center, the Hyatt property features 60,600 square feet of function space to accommodate six to 3,000 attendees, 24-hour business center and WiFi and full A/V and catering services.

So while the media guffaw over the demands for three-hued food (tricolor pasta, anyone?), remember that the Democratic convention planners are doing more than stressing out the caterers of Denver. They’re leaving behind a greener meetings destination. 

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