In the LEED: San Francisco hotels go green

In the LEED: San Francisco hotels go green

Hotel Nikko in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

As their economic advantages become clearer, eco-friendly features matter more and more to the hospitality industry. Not only can these programs decrease building operating costs, but some studies also show that green features can boost revenue, too.

Within the San Francisco Bay Area, many hotels have accepted the demand to go green, reports the San Francisco Business Times. A number have become LEED- or Energy Star-certified, and 66 hotels, or 27 percent, of the 230 San Francisco properties on online travel site TripAdvisor are included in its GreenLeaders program, which showcases facilities with green practices.

Along with “luxury,” “boutique” and “budget,” travelers today can search for “green” hotels, highlighting that sustainability has become an important magnet for consumers. Only 15 percent of New York City hotels and 8 percent of Los Angeles hotels on TripAdvisor are designated GreenLeaders.

These heightened environmental standards among hotels should spell good news for businesses in the construction, HVAC, engineering, environmental and design industries, which can benefit from these opportunities.

In the LEED

LEED certification, a standard among green buildings, is still relatively new having only launched in 2000, but research shows that LEED-certified hotels might have a financial advantage over peers. LEED-certified hotels saw increased revenue per available room in the two years after becoming certified, more so than their non-certified competitors, according to a 2014 study by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research.

About a half dozen San Francisco hotels have gone LEED, with several others in progress, including the new 350-room Grand Hyatt San Francisco International Airport, which is pursuing a gold rating and planned for completion in 2019.

Spending on Green Building

Green building construction spending is expected to rise over the next couple of years, according to a 2015 U.S. Green Building Council study prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton. That number is projected to go from $151 billion in 2015 to $224 billion next year.

Conservation on the upswing

From whole-building energy management systems and LED lighting to recycling programs and biodegradable room keys, hotels are increasingly incorporating features to save energy, water and waste, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2016 Lodging Survey Hotel Trends, conducted by research company STR. Many of these features are found in Bay Area hotels today.

Energy management systems: About 50 percent of larger hotels (130-plus rooms) have integrated energy management systems to improve building energy efficiency, according to the lodging association. The Hotel Nikko in San Francisco in 2015 installed microturbines on the hotel’s roof to generate its own electricity. The system works by capturing exhaust heat from the building, and through heat exchanger cogeneration, converts the exhaust into thermal energy.

The Nikko also replaced its old HVAC units with two Daikon Magnitude chillers, which save 15.2 percent on energy use annually.

Energy sensors: About 48 percent of hotels today feature energy sensors in guest rooms, according to the AHLA. Local hotels like the Grand Hyatt San Francisco offer occupancy sensor fixtures that can turn off lights or change thermostat settings when rooms are vacant.

High-efficiency lighting: LED and high-efficiency lighting is found in 90 percent of hotels today, increasing from 77 percent of hotels in 2014, according to the AHLA. More than half of room lighting and 90 percent of back-of-house lighting at the W San Francisco are energy-efficient.

Water savings programs: About 77 percent of hotels have adopted programs to save water, according to the AHLA survey. Hotel Nikko San Francisco has worked to reduce water faucet flow rates from 2.2 gallons per minute to 1 gallon per minute. It also uses a laundry program that saves more than 150,000 gallons of water per month. The Axiom Hotel provides guests with filtered water stations, reducing the need for plastic bottled water.

Linen re-use programs: We’ve probably all seen those signs in the bathroom — one of the most widely adopted programs among hotels, linen and towel re-use programs can be found in 94 percent of lodgings today, according to the AHLA. And the impact is measurable, reducing laundry loads by an average of 17 percent, according to the association.


Topics: Architectural Firms, Automation and Controls, Building Owners and Managers, Certifications, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, Hospitality, Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting, Plumbing, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Urban Planning and Design, Water Saving Strategies and Devices


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