2013 CALGreen Building Standards Code uUpdates: What You Need to Know

By Jerry Schmits Director, KLH Energy Solutions | March 09, 2014

The California Building Standards Commission updates its Building Standards Code -- part of the California Code of Regulations -- every three years, with the 2013 code updates taking effect in July 2014. The code aims to improve general welfare, safety, and public health by incorporating standards that have positive environmental impacts while working to mitigate harmful practices. For non-residential buildings, the targeted areas for code standards affect the following: planning and design, energy efficiency, water efficiency and conservation, material conservation and resource efficiency, and environmental quality.

While these targeted areas are nothing new, the 2013 code updates could have a significant impact on hotel developers and owners, since policymakers added language to specifically include hotels, motels, and lodging houses (Section 101.3.1). The code section specific to green building standards is commonly referred to as "Title 24, Part 11," which spans 216 pages, but in regard to the effects on your hotel project and construction plans, this article details what you need to know.

While there have been numerous additions to the definitions section, there are four primary areas where the 2013 updates might impact your hotel or resort construction plans.

1. Planning and Design

Code regulations for site development have traditionally included guidelines for items such as storm water pollution prevention, bicycle parking, light pollution reduction, and grading and paving. The new 2013 regulations clarify what provisions apply to which building additions and alterations, and which ones apply only to new construction.

2. Water Efficiency and Conservation

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.