A few years ago Grand Hotel was awarded Green Lodging Michigan (GLM) certification from the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) for its comprehensive efforts to protect the environment. The award recognizes the fact that behind the scenes of Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island’s ageless “Somewhere in Time” ambiance, are aggressive programs to seek out and implement the latest technology to protect the island’s pristine environment.
Our efforts at Grand Hotel include:
- The water-based air conditioning system Grand Hotel designed and installed
- An island program that composts all biodegradable waste on the island
- State of the art water and waste water treatment systems used on the island
- Changing over to energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the hotel
- Offering guests an option with regards to the frequency of linen exchange
- Limiting the amount of paper waste by centralizing information available to guests instead of delivering to all guest rooms
- A specially designed composting system that produces all the compost Grand Hotel uses for its signature flowerbeds
- This past fall we recycled concrete from a road construction project in front of the hotel to help stabilize the erosion of land on the west end of the hotel
The hotel’s composting program is one of the most interesting parts of our recycling efforts. Anything you see on the grounds as dirt is something we made ourselves. Every single grass clipping, weed, or flower taken from the ground when the growing season is over goes into the compost pile. The only other ingredient added to the pile is coffee grounds collected from the hotel which adds a lot of acid to the soil which is very beneficial to the growth of various plants and flowers all season long. It takes about 1 1/2 years to compost a pile and we have 3 going at any time. The planting for the hotel’s gardens starts in the middle of April each year and goes through the middle of November. Each fall the hotel plants approximately 25,000 tulips and 15,000 daffodils.
The hotel’s composting program is only one example of the attention to detail that goes into protecting the environment on Mackinac Island.
The Mackinac Island community has been committed to taking steps to maintain the ambiance that brings visitors to the island while handling all of the refuse from over 1 million visitors every year. As a result, half of the waste material generated at the hotel and on the island is processed through very aggressive programs to compost the biodegradable waste – including the horse manure produced by the island’s main form of transportation – and to recycle paper, plastics, glass and other recyclable materials. The attention to detail is such that all unpainted scrap wood from the hotel’s maintenance department is ground up and used as part of the island’s composting operation, rather than going to a landfill. The island closed and capped its landfill in 1991 and all non-recyclable waste is hauled to a state-approved landfill on the mainland.
R.D. Musser Jr., Chairman of Grand Hotel was a long a long-time advocate of protecting the island’s unique environment, including serving more than 30 years as chair of the island’s Public Works Commission. Under his guidance, the island has built a state of the art water supply system that uses a cutting edge micro-filtration process and an equally modern waste water treatment plant that meets or exceeds
all federal guidelines.
For Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island, all of these initiatives are part of a continuing effort to provide modern conveniences to visitors while protecting the environment and maintaining the 19th Century charm for which both are known around the world.