Introducing The Green Edge

Dina Belon
Dina Belon

A multidisciplinary sustainability and hospitality expert, I live in Seattle by way of Alaska and Oregon. A perennial West Coast girl, I have carved a niche for myself in sustainable hotel development and operations where I have been making waves for more than 20 years. As a development project manager at Marriott, I built resorts. As vice president of property improvement at Wyndham, I renovated resorts. As Sustainability Director at The Peabody Hotel Group, I made them smarter. My personal mission is to radically reorient the hospitality industry to the business value of the triple bottom line.

I stand in support of the hospitality industry as it shifts and charts a new way forward with sustainability at its core. LEED Certification, the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, ENERGY STAR, Green Key, and Travelocity Green Leader are all efforts to guarantee that our industry benefits people, planet and prosperity.

Hospitality has the best opportunity for impact with 1.1 billion annual travelers worldwide. I demand better economic performance from hotels – just as I demand that the industry provide better experiences to tourists, business travelers and conference attendees. I am happy to help you change your lightbulbs, but more importantly, I help the biggest hospitality brands in the world to think about sustainability differently and get smart about the most effective ways to build and operate hotels.  

In this blog I will provide an education about sustainability practices. Sustainability is like a diet, if you only do it sometimes you will fail. Instead start a healthy lifestyle and you will feel much better. Sustainability is delicious and healthy, for you, your family, the community and the planet.  

Rachel Sowards
Rachel Sowards

Picture the opening scene of the Mary Tyler Moore show when Mary throws her hat in the air and starts her journey to take on the big city. Well that’s of my story too. Except my big city is Washington, D.C.

I moved to the US capital from Iowa City, Iowa, more than a decade ago. A Hawks fan to the bitter end, I was quickly embraced by DC’s complex landscape of real estate development and sustainability professionals. Today I’m the divisional director of a pioneering sustainability consulting firm and am loving every minute of it.

Without a doubt, the best part of my job is that I get to help clients achieve their goals, and I get to use sustainability to do it. When I realized that I could combine my interest and experience in real estate with my life-long passion for sustainability into a career, queue fireworks.

As a cribbage-dominating, Rock Creek hiking, wine drinking, happily married cat lady, I’ve managed more than 10 million square feet of real estate to sustainable outcomes, and have worked on some of the most notable projects in the region, including the Marriott Marquis.

I’ve earned a reputation as a disruptor with no time to waste. But the need to get up and go-go-go never stops me from relishing that I live in a city of ideas. And in real estate, where “innovation loves constraints,” I am helping developers to connect to the value of sustainability as part of the real estate narrative.

In this blog, we’ll be talking about the subjects that the hospitality industry cares most about, and offering innovative, profitable, and high performance sustainability solutions. So, in the spirit of hospitality, we welcome you to The Green Edge. We look forward to showing you the view from our rooms in the West and the East.