Trends in Green Construction in the Hospitality Industry

By Rollin Bell Founder / CEO, PCM Construction | October 28, 2008

Over the past decade, the hospitality industry - like the rest of the commercial real estate industry - has begun incorporating the use of environmentally friendly, green materials into the design and renovation of existing spaces. The result has been new hotels that are not only aesthetically pleasing - but also sustainable buildings that are making a positive impact on the communities in which they are located.

The breakthroughs in green construction have been remarkable. Some international hotels, for example, have been able to reduce energy costs by constructing sod roofs consisting of mud and other organic materials. Other hotels have found ways to minimize waste runoff through innovative engineering techniques, while still others have increased energy efficiency through use of natural and ambient lighting.

Driving the current trend in green construction is the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which has established standards for the commercial real estate industry through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

The LEED system is particularly effective because it awards credits to six categories: sustainable siting, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental air quality, and innovation in design. Each structure achieves a LEED certification level ('certified,' 'silver,' 'gold,' or 'platinum') based on how many points it scores in each of these categories.

These points - which translate into tax savings for businesses that choose to incorporate the credits - provide a strong incentive for hotel executives to consider going green during their next construction or renovation project.

Credits notwithstanding, several other great incentives exist for hotel executives who wish to adhere to environmentally-friendly standards. One is energy efficiency. Natural and ambient lighting, for example, has helped some commercial properties reduce up to 40% of energy costs.

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