LEED Certified Buildings: A Growing Presence in Hospitality
By Taryn Holowka Senior VP of Marketing, Communications & Advocacy, U.S. Green Building Council | May 08, 2016
Think back to the last time you stayed in a hotel. Did you notice anything that seemed eco-friendly – maybe there were recycling bins located throughout the hotel, perhaps there was a towel reuse program or maybe you even saw solar panels on the roof? Fortunately, these scenarios are becoming more and more common as hotels and resorts are catching on to and embracing sustainability practices – practices that are not only in demand from their customers, but that are also reducing operating costs significantly.
Hotels and resorts often face complex considerations when going green, but with more than five billion square feet of space in the United States alone, the hospitality industry represents an enormous sustainability opportunity. Unlike most commercial properties, hotels consume resources seven days a week 24 hours a day. Over the last few years, sustainable practices have started to gain momentum in the hospitality industry and hotels across the world are incorporating LEED and other green building practices into their spaces, changing the way hotels are designed, built and operated. Similar to the way LEED has undeniably changed the built environment, the hospitality industry is poised to transform the market yet again by creating healthy, smart, efficient, responsive, resilient and above all else, sustainable buildings.
LEED®, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a global green building rating system that provides third-party verification of the features, design, construction, maintenance, operation and effectiveness of green buildings.
Developed and maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC®), LEED is a simple and effective program for navigating complex, often competing building and environmental issues affecting humans worldwide. Every day, more than 1.85 million square feet of space in 155 countries is LEED certified. LEED is designed for use in various building types in a variety of climates and localities, often synching with local laws and requirements. Building projects earn points to achieve one of four different levels of LEED certification: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.
Green buildings have also been proven to use on average 26% less energy, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 33%, use 30% less indoor water, and send 50%‐75% less solid waste to landfills and incinerators. The opportunities for hospitality venues to integrate green building strategies into their design, construction, and daily operations makes business sense and can be an important part of a company's commitment to sustainability.