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SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ.—Marriott International, Inc. announced the first hotel to open as part of its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) Volume Program—The Courtyard Scottsdale Salt River in Arizona. The hotel is also the first Marriott-branded property built on U.S. tribal land in cooperation with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, creating nearly 30 jobs. “This partnership is a symbol of Marriott’s commitment to working with diverse business partners,” said Eric Jacobs, chief development officer, North American Lodging, Marriott International. “Our business thrives on partnerships with organizations that share similar philosophies and values. We believe that we have found a great partner in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. It’s a great example of Marriott’s diverse ownership program, which currently has nearly 600 diverse-owned hotels.”
DALLAS—The Omni Dallas Hotel, which opened its doors last November, has received LEED Gold New Construction (NC) certification, making it the first and only LEED Gold hotel in Texas and the largest LEED Gold hotel in the United States outside of Las Vegas. This designation was made possible by the development and execution of a highly disciplined plan that included the use of recycled and regionally-sourced materials, reduced construction pollution and water conservation initiatives. Upon opening, the hotel has also instituted practices to operate at LEED Gold standards. “The Omni Dallas Hotel is living up to its expectations in every way,” said Mayor Michael S. Rawlings.
STAMFORD, CONN.—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced plans to open Element Harrison in summer of 2014. Owned and developed by Harrison Hotel 1, an entity of Ironstate Holdings, LLC, a Hoboken, N.J.-based developer, and managed by Crescent Hotels & Resorts, Element Harrison will join Element Ewing Princeton as the brand’s second hotel in New Jersey. The new Element will have 138 guestrooms and suites built green from the ground up. Element Harrison will be walking distance to a variety of shops and restaurants and within proximity to Newark’s business district. Less than 30 minutes from Manhattan’s financial district, the hotel is located right at the NJ PATH Harrison train station.
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.—Shore Hotel announced it has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is USGBC’s rating system for designing, constructing and maintaining the world’s greenest, most energy efficient and high performing buildings and the Shore Hotel, designed by Gensler, is the first property in Santa Monica to receive this distinction. “Shore Hotel is honored to receive LEED Gold certification,” says Steve Farzam, COO of Shore Hotel. “We support ongoing efforts to be responsible and sustainable in every area of our business and through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment and dedication to environmental stewardship.”
DELAVAN, WIS.—When the husband-and-wife team of Fritz Kreiss and Catherine McQueen learned that a two-lane highway adjacent to their five-acre property in Delavan, Wis. would be expanded to four lanes they could have tried to sell the land with their cottage on it. Instead, they decided to build perhaps North America’s greenest lodging establishment—the 19-suite Green Leaf Inn that will be a net zero energy property. Net zero energy properties generate more energy than they consume. The Green Leaf Inn is scheduled to open in the spring of next year. It is the owners’ intention for the inn to serve as a net zero energy demonstration model—a living laboratory and catalog of new technology, products, and providers.
KAPAAU, HAWAII—Guests staying at the boutique-style Hawaii Island Retreat on Hawaii Island’s North Kohala coast can choose to stay in one of the Retreat’s nine lavishly appointed guestrooms or “rough” it a little bit and stay in one of the property’s seven well-appointed yurts. No matter what accommodations are chosen, guests have the satisfaction of knowing they are staying in a place that is off the grid—powered by the sun and wind. The Hawaii Island Retreat is nearing its third anniversary. It opened on April 1, 2009. Jacque Waters, associate director at the property, said the owners—Jeanne Sunderland and Robert Watkins—were committed from day one to creating a retreat and Maluhia Spa that were not only off the grid but as eco-friendly in every other way possible as well.
BOULDER, COLO.—With a simple flip of a switch, The Best Western Plus Boulder Inn recently became the most solar powered hotel in Boulder County. The newly installed 880-kilowatt system that includes 88 solar panels will save 28,694 kWh of electricity production annually, and provide approximately 25 percent of the hotel’s overall electrical needs. A digital reporting device located at the hotel’s front desk provides real-time and cumulative information on CO2 savings and power production. This and other sustainability tracking initiatives applied throughout the hotel will provide a true look at the hotel’s overall environmental impact. “Our goal is to reduce our guests’ carbon footprint during their stay and to become the most environmentally conscious hotel in the market,” said Steven Wallace, g.m.
MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.—The Wyndham Philadelphia-Mount Laurel is just a few weeks away from going “live” with its 756-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system on 10 carports in the hotel’s parking area. The carports cover 70 percent of the 400-vehicle parking space and were constructed—along with the solar panels—as part of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The PPA was signed by the owners of the Wyndham hotel with US Solargy, Inc. US Solargy secured the financing for the system. US Solargy then placed the PPA with SolarMax Technology which financed and developed it. The owners of the hotel incurred no upfront costs; they will purchase electricity from SolarMax at a guaranteed rate for 15 years. The solar installation is expected to provide 50 percent of the electricity needed by the full-service, 245-room hotel.
ATLANTA—The Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway, adjacent to one of the world’s busiest U.S. airports and home to the Georgia International Convention Center, recently earned Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The eco-savvy, 403-room property is among the greenest hotels in the city and is one of only 41 LEED Silver hotels for new construction in the United States to earn this level of accreditation. “We are proud of this outstanding achievement in being recognized as an environmental leader,” said Robert Woolridge, general manager. “Our contributions in making the environment a healthier place by reducing waste, conserving energy and water and using “green power” provided by the city of College Park are paying off and will continue for years to come.”
QUITO, ECUADOR—There is a new destination for experiencing natural beauty, biodiversity and eco-adventure in the Ecuadorian Andes: the Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve. Located two-and-a-half hours west of historic Quito, this 3,000-acre reserve protects a small slice of the Tumbez-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity “hotspot,” and will be home to a new retreat called Mashpi Lodge, new on the heels of its sister property Casa Gangotena that opened in Quito Old Town in October. This lodge has been designed as a springboard for exploring the biodiverse world of its reserve. A private getaway only accessible to its guests and located on a high plateau, Mashpi Lodge offers views of the forest and valleys at nearly every angle and offers the highest level of service.
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