Alaska’s Guests Keep Warm with Recycled Oil

The 1.5-mile wide Mendenhall Glacier may be just around the corner, but you’ll be plenty warm at Juneau’s Westmark Baranof Hotel. The 196-room hotel, owned by Holland America, combines vegetable oil with fuel oil to heat the hotel.

The hotel is the only place in the city that collects used cooking oil. The ingenious process is good for the planet, saves thousands of dollars in fuel costs, and rids local companies of the headache of disposing of used oil, which they used to have to ship to the lower 48 states for removal, creating an added expense.

For nearly two years the hotel has collected about 200 gallons a week from McDonald’s and other restaurants and hotels in town. That added up to 10,000 gallons last year, Andy Krone, chief engineer at the Baranof, told IT. "It’s a good thing for the business community," said Krone. "It saves us money and its good for the environment." Most guests don’t even know that they’re being kept warm by the grease left in the fast food fryer.

Baranof’s Gold Room Restaurant, which also donates its oil, offers one of the more upscale experiences in town. It was dubbed the "only black tie restaurant in Juneau,” by one TripAdvisor

user:

The Gold Room has a delicious menu with nightly specials and something for every taste. My favorites are the Parmesan halibut, the duck with marionberry sauce and the portabello. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a steak. So, for being the only choice it is a good choice.

Hot tip: On your birthday the meal is free! They also have the cleanest public restrooms in Juneau.

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The hotel is also taking other measures to reduce its impact and cut down on costs. They adjusted ventilation so as not to use as much heat and are in the process of changing over to CFL lightbulbs, said Krone. Overall, "Its actually a pretty simple thing to do."

Thanks Green Lodging News, for the tip.

Photo: Baranof Hotel courtesy of Holland America Line

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