Drury Hotels Escalates Environmental Commitment with Dispenser Rollout, Multiple Solar Installations

1/26/2012 By Glenn Hasek

ST. LOUIS—Drury Hotels Company, a family owned and operated company based in St. Louis, is in the process of rolling out amenity dispensers in the bathrooms of its guestrooms in all 123 of its Drury branded properties. The five Drury brands include Drury Inn & Suites, Drury Inn, Drury Suites, Drury Plaza Hotel, and Pear Tree Inn by Drury. Drury properties can be found in 20 states. Alison Casler, director of training and communication for Drury Hotels Company, says the new dispenser standard will save the purchase and disposal of at least 1.8 million amenity bottles a year. Drury will still offer a facial bar soap at the bathroom sink.

“It makes really good sense and is a great initiative for the environment,” Casler says. “It makes the room cleaning process easier. It makes sense operationally. The feedback overall has been very good. We are working on the in-room signage.”

The only guest concerns so far have related to dispenser security but Casler emphasizes that the dispensers are “locked and secure.”

Two Hotels LEED Certified

The amenity dispenser initiative is just one part of a larger green story that is developing at the hotel company with deep roots in Missouri. Two Drury hotels are now LEED certified—the Drury Inn & Suites in Flagstaff, Ariz. (LEED Silver), and the Drury Inn & Suites San Antonio—Near La Cantera Parkway (LEED Certified).

“They were both constructed using insulated concrete forms,” says Danielle Poyner, project specialist with Drury Hotels Company. “The one in Flagstaff is on the campus of Northern Arizona University. The location is right in the middle of town with access to bus routes. The site itself lends itself to earning LEED points.”

Drury Hotels Company is currently seeking LEED certification for its Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview in Wichita, Kan., and is considering LEED for a couple of other hotel projects. The company has not made a commitment to LEED for all of its hotels.

“We evaluate on a hotel by hotel basis,” Poyner says.

Three Hotels with Solar

In San Antonio, Texas, Drury has three hotels with solar installations. At the Drury Plaza Hotel—San Antonio North, a 140-panel, 33.6 kW rooftop system is offsetting 50,547 kWh of electricity annually. The system, which was installed in January 2011, is preventing more than five tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere each month. At the Drury Inn & Suites San Antonio—Near La Cantera Parkway and the Drury Inn & Suites—Northwest Medical Center, 144-panel, 36-kW Sun Arbors (solar trees) at each property will offset 52,688 kWh of electricity per year. They will prevent the release of almost six tons of carbon dioxide monthly. The Sun Arbors were installed in September 2011. Rack cards and lobby signage at the participating hotels direct attention to the solar installations.

Poyner would not release the cost of the solar systems but the rooftop system is expected to save $4,000 annually and the Sun Arbors $4,300 each year. The cost of the solar installations was offset to some degree by local incentives provided by San Antonio’s City Public Service.

“We also took advantage of a federal rebate,” Poyner says.

Poyner adds that Drury does not have any current plans for any additional solar installations, although it is investing in other technologies to reduce energy consumption.

Energy Management Systems Being Tested

“In the past year and a half we went through a lighting retrofit,” Poyner says. “We changed T-12s to T-8s. We also now have occupancy sensors in public restrooms and janitor closets. We are studying guestroom energy management systems at six of our properties.”

From a waste management standpoint, recycling is taking place at just some of Drury’s hotels. “We are investigating how we can incorporate it into all of our hotels but not all areas have recycling,” Poyner says.

To help reduce the cost of furniture for its hotels and to reduce the carbon impact of its furniture purchasing, Drury has its own furniture company and plant in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Go to Drury Hotels Company.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.


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