There is a discussion on the environmental impact of hotel hopping in a Starwood thread on FlyerTalk. One commenter suggested hotel hopping is a bad idea since it is bad for the environment. There are many rebuttal comments.
Typically I think of mileage run flights as being bad for the environment. Airlines produce significant carbon emissions. The good news is the airline industry is working to reduce carbon greenhouse gas emissions.
- EarthTalk – Airplane emissions and climate change (March 2013)
- Delta Greenhouse Gas Emissions Down 18.4 Percent Since 2005 (August 6, 2013, Yahoo News)
- United Airlines Achieves Top Honor as Eco-Aviation ‘Airline of the Year’ Gold Winner – Air Transport World awards United highest recognition for its leadership in environmental action (WSJ Market Watch – August 1, 2013)
LEED Certification in Hotels
Have you seen this certification sign in hotels you stay?
LEED Silver 2009 – U.S. Green Building Council certification plaque at Westin Riverfront, Avon, Colorado.
LEED = Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED provides third-party verification of green buildings. LEED is an international recognition for building design, construction and operation.
LEED Certification impact:
- Lower operating costs and increase asset value
- Conserve energy, water and other resources
- Be healthier and safer for occupants
- Qualify for money-saving incentives, like tax rebates and zoning allowances
Marriott International has a webpage listing its 13 LEED certified hotels.
Marriott Hotels & Resorts
Marriott Conference Centers
- The Inn & Conference Center by Marriott at the University of Maryland, Hyattsville, Maryland. LEED Certified
JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts
Courtyard by Marriott
- Fairfield Inn & Suites
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Baltimore Downtown/Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland. LEED Gold
- SpringHill Suites Atlanta Airport Gateway, Atlanta, Georgia. LEED Gold
- TownePlace Suites Baltimore BWI Airport, Baltimore, Maryland. LEED Gold
- Marriott International Headquarters, Bethesda, Maryland. LEED Existing Building Gold
Starwood Hotels extended stay Element brand launched about four years ago. All Element Hotels are newly constructed for LEED certification. Starwood Hotels link to Element makes a Difference.
In 2010 there were only about 120 hotels in the U.S. with LEED certification. Over 1,000 hotels have applied in the past couple of years. Finding a list of LEED certified hotels has been a challenge in writing this piece.
Oyster.com has a short list of 20 hotels with no article date. I am amazed to see that I have stayed in 8 of the 20 LEED hotels on the list.
My hometown Portola Plaza & Spa (formerly DoubleTree by Hilton) leads the list on Oyster with Silver certification in 2010 and only the sixth hotel in the U.S. to receive LEED certification on an existing building. Portola Plaza was built in downtown Monterey more than 30 years ago.
Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell became the first hotel in the Miami area to receive LEED certification with LEED Silver October 2012. Forbes: Miami’s First LEED Certified Hotel: Why Only Now?
The Forbes article states San Francisco and Las Vegas lead the way with six hotels each having LEED certification.
LEED Silver, Gold and Platinum
There are several categories of buildings for LEED certification and several levels of certification including Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Apparently there are only three hotels currently with LEED Platinum certification.
Bardessono Hotel in Yountville (Napa Valley), California has a webpage describing the features of the hotel that led to LEED Platinum certification.
Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, North Carolina is another LEED Platinum Hotel.
Here is a sampling of the 70+ sustainable practices at Proximity Hotel:
- The building uses 39.2% less energy than a conventional hotel/restaurant by using ultra efficient materials and the latest construction technology.
- The sun’s energy heats hot water with 100 solar panels covering the 4,000 square feet of rooftop (enough hot water for a hundred homes). This heats around 60% of the water for both the hotel and restaurant.
- 700 linear feet of stream was restored by reducing erosion, planting local, adaptable plant species and rebuilding the buffers and banks. Approximately 700 cubic yards of soil was removed to create a floodplain bench. And 376 tons of boulders and 18 logs were used to maintain grade control, dissipate energy and assist in the creation and maintenance of riffles and pools.
The bistro bar is made of salvaged, solid walnut trees that came down through sickness or storm and room service trays made of Plyboo (bamboo plywood).
- Newly-engineered variable speed hoods in the restaurant uses a series of sensors to set the power according to the kitchen’s needs and adjusts to a lower level of operation (typically 25% of their full capacity). The sensors also detect heat, smoke or other effluents and increase the fan speed to keep the air fresh.
- Geothermal energy is used for the restaurant’s refrigeration equipment, instead of a standard water-cooled system, saving significant amounts of water.
I try to be a green traveler, yet I regularly hotel hop to maximize hotel stays for elite status and points earnings and discounts. I walk and use public transportation most everywhere I travel without my car.
In hotels I try to stay environmentally friendly. Air conditioning is my biggest impact since I come from a place that is generally far cooler than most places I visit. The air conditioner in hot places is offset by seldom using heat in cold places. Generally the radiant heat from other rooms is sufficient warmth in a hotel.
Soaps and shampoos are something I take from the hotel and use at home. I travel with good quality used soaps and shampoo and either do not open the bath amenities at the hotel and leave them behind at most midscale hotels or take the bath amenities with me from the upscale hotels. I use those at home.
Perhaps there should be a green traveler checklist for meeting certification standards. I would love to do more.
Glenn Hasek is a Canadian who is editor of Green Lodging News. I have met Glenn a few times and I love the focus of his hotel industry reporting.
I was not surprised to see his articles turn up in my searches for LEED certified hotels.
Companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, and many others are all making commitments to pursue LEED. That is good news for our industry and good news for the environment. Interested in seeing the entire LEED certified/registered list? Contact me at email@example.com.
Green Lodging News October 14, 2010
Looks like I should contact Glenn.
Are you a green traveler?
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.