Hey, it’s Earth Day! Let’s talk about green hotels!
One way you can tell if a hotel is eco-friendly if they are LEED-certified. People usually think of this as something that you get on new construction, confirming that the design and construction process was done in an environmentally sensitive way. What you may not know is that it’s also possible to upgrade an existing building to LEED standards, and receive an LEED EB certification.
A property can earn credits for an LEED EB certification in the areas of sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. In a way, it’s even better than a straight up LEED certification (which is already pretty amazing) because it confirms that the property is actually performing up to environmental standards, above and beyond the design.
So far there are only two hotels in the U.S. which have managed to take an existing property and achieve this badge of honor, both in California: The Ambrose in Santa Monica, and the Orchard Hotel in San Francisco.
The Ambrose earned their LEED-EB certification in July 2008. It’s a gorgeous “sustainable boutique” hotel, with an an Arts & Crafts inspired design. Located near Wilshire, it’s a five minute drive to Venice Beach and that crazy boardwalk.
Guests at The Ambrose enjoy complimentary organic continental breakfast and you can rent a hybrid car on-site. Hybrid vehicles also get “preferred” parking!
Their green practices include water conservation, non-toxic housekeeping products and methods, and a waste reduction program.
The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco just received their LEED-EB certification this month. Like sister property, The Orchard Garden Hotel, which was the first hotel in California to be LEED certified, this is a boutique hotel, set in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood, with a heart of green.
Cable cars and shopping are just steps away from the front door of The Orchard, while inside the rooms offer an oasis of environmentally-friendly luxury. Rooms have recycled textiles, are cleaned with organic, citrus-based cleaning products, and all of the paper products — even the toilet paper! — is recycled.
Now that these trailblazers have demonstrated that you can have a profitable luxury hotel that is uber-green, expect — or even demand! — to see more properties with LEED and LEED EB ratings. It’s the hotel trend of the future!