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Pemberton hotel wins Best Green Business

Pemberton Valley Lodge on Top at provincial awards



The general manager of the Pemberton Valley Lodge, David MacKenzie, has never won an Oscar but now he knows just what it feels like.

His Oscar moment came at the Small Business BC's Successful You Awards on Feb. 28.

"You really don't know you're winning the award until they open the envelope, pull the card out and read the name on it," recalled MacKenzie this week.

That name was: Pemberton Valley Lodge — Best Green Business 2012.

The glass oblong statue now sits at the hotel's front desk, boasting to all who check in and out that this hotel is going above and beyond in its commitment to sustainability.

There is 31 staff on hand. This, said MacKenzie, is their award.

"All of our staff are quite proud of it," he said. "This is really their accomplishment."

When asked what he thinks tipped the balance in favour for the 85-room hotel, up against some stiff competition, MacKenzie said it was the heartfelt work throughout his whole organization from the front desk and housekeeping to maintenance and management to set the green bar higher than most.

"I think it was the sincere effort that we've made over the past few years to look at how we can improve our sustainability practices in all aspects of our business," said MacKenzie.

That means LED lights throughout the hotel from hallways to guest rooms, something that is not only reducing waste, but also the hydro bills.

"In a hotel operation, there wouldn't have been a day go by in the past where your maintenance workers are not going around replacing lightbulbs," said MacKenzie. "And now we have weeks and weeks and weeks go by without having to replace a lightbulb."

It's recycling the soap by joining the Clean the World program. While that costs $1 per room, per month, it's having spin-off effects around the world as the soap gets sterilized and sent to impoverished communities and homeless shelters, effectively reducing the spread of disease.

"When you really look at the amount of waste that we're generating as a business, it just seemed to make sense for us," said MacKenzie of the soap program.

It's putting blue boxes in guest rooms and installing a trash compactor on site so Carney's waste truck only makes the trip from Squamish once every three weeks, rather than a couple of times a week.

For the hotel's workers, some of these practises mean there are more steps involved in their jobs. But they've embraced the work,

Plans are now in the works to put occupancy sensors that would turn down heat and turn off lights when people aren't there.

The list goes on.

The award has bolstered their resolve to strive for five out of five keys in the Green Key Eco-Rating Program. The hotel already has four keys.

When asked if he thinks customers are becoming more savvy when it comes to choosing green hotels, MacKenzie said it's becoming a factor in the decision-making more and more.

"I think that's evident when we look into our blue boxes in our suites," he said, adding that customers are trained now to put their newspapers in the boxes along with their pop cans and any glass containers.

The 9th annual Successful You Awards is a province-wide contest that recognizes and celebrates the important contributions of BC's entrepreneurs to their local communities and the wider global economy. Other winners that night were: Williams and White for Best Company, EightSix Network for Best Concept and Eclipse Awards for Best Employer. Check out