Pines Motel is now upgraded to the Innovator/Silver level of Certified Sustainable Businesses

pines-motel-owners-l-r-cory-bruening-anna-may-cory-and-martha-brueningPines Motel in Cottonwood got certified as a sustainable business in August 2019 but getting Bronze/Conservationist wasn’t good enough for Anna May Cory. She quickly got working on the recommendations for improvement. Since then, the motel has made so many improvements that in exactly one year, they now qualify for Innovator/Silver.

The biggest improvement Pines Motel made was to convert their pool into saltwater. According to Home Advisor, the saltwater generator “uses a process known as electrolysis to convert salt into chlorine. The generator maintains chlorine levels for you, so that you don’t have to monitor, test and balance it as regularly as with a chlorine system.” While the generator does use a little energy, it avoids the need to transport, store, and dispense chlorine, a dangerous chemical. According to Cory, “Guests really like it.”pines-salt-water-pool

Employee engagement is an important part of workplace sustainability. Inspired by the certification, they recently invited all staff to discuss future of their business. It was the first time all staff had met all together. The conversations were translated into Spanish so everyone could participate. Asked them for ideas on “how to take our values and communicate that through our marketing.” Prior to the meeting, they were given three subjects we were going to discuss.  The amazing part is that they came prepared with ideas to present to the group.  Several of the ideas the staff brought up were then used in an ad we did in The Green Living Magazine for August.  The whole team is now discussing remodeling ideas. As Cory explains, “Staff are on the front lines talking with our guests, so they know what connects with customers.”

In this age of COVID, air quality is a major concern. Many hotels spray perfume after cleaning rooms but Pines doesn’t do that. Instead, they run an ozone machine after guests check out if there are lingering odors. They also have several AirDoctor HEPA filtration units available for guests on request. Units were originally planned for a wellness room (construction on hold) and also guests with chemical sensitivities and/or virus concerns.

The little things matter too. They also installed an Elkay water station to encourage guests to refill reusable water bottles and continue to switch out incandescent light bulbs with LEDs as they burn out. They wash wastebaskets instead of using plastic bags and they’ve converted most of the toilets to low-flow models. They’ve ordered new TVs for the guest rooms and will sell the old ones to keep them out of the landfill.

Cory is active in the community. For the last four months she’s participated on Cottonwood Task Force on COVID Recovery and donated rooms during the pandemic to hospital and local emergency responders. She’s an Ambassador for Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce and is helping to create Cottonwood’s Marketing Plan for 20-21. Sustainability Alliance

They’re still not done making improvements. “We want to install in-room remote controlled thermostats to manage temperature from main office. We had to delay this because of COVID but once we recover, it’s next on our list.” These thermostats allow hotels to adjust the room temperature when a guest checks in so it’s comfortable when they get to their room, saving energy.

See who else is certified.