Home Vendor Case Studies Pillow-Vac Pillow Renovating Contributes to Sustainability Leadership Efforts of Hilton Concord

Pillow-Vac Pillow Renovating Contributes to Sustainability Leadership Efforts of Hilton Concord


CONCORD, CALIF.—Hilton Concord, located in the suburban community of Concord in the East Bay of San Francisco, is implementing a significant array of 16 integrated sustainability initiatives designed to drastically reduce the environmental footprint of the hotel while achieving increased net cash flow from operating cost reductions and creating added asset value. The hotel is owned and operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts. “Investing in these initiatives will not only contribute to the bottom line, but will also position Hilton Concord as a leader in the market committed to environmentally-friendly practices,” said Ted Knighton, Interstate’s chief operating officer. The first phase of the initiative has been completed producing impressive initial results in sustainability market leadership and economic benefits.

One of the initiatives is the renovation of guest pillows with the Pillow-Vac®, manufactured by South Carolina-based Harris Pillow Supply.

“Sustainability has become increasingly important not only to our guests but throughout our entire organization,” said Jack Hlavac, general manager, Hilton Concord, who leads the sustainability mission. “With our commitment to sustainability, we banned landfill disposal and trucking as an option, which generates CO2. As our 329 guestrooms use 2,421 pillows, the last link to complete the initiative was the Pillow-Vac, found through Hotel Sustainability Solutions.”

Hotel Sustainability Solutions, Inc. (HSSI), a consulting firm providing comprehensive expertise and management of integrated systems, technologies and products for the hospitality industry is a California-based company offering sustainability solutions throughout the United States. Chuck Smith, CEO, said, “Of the targeted sustainability initiatives to be implemented, including products, systems and technologies, the Pillow-Vac provides our clients with the fastest ROI. It delivers an excellent technology and customer support system. It has been a perfect fit in achieving our sustainability objectives at Hilton Concord.”

How the Pillow-Vac Works for Hilton Concord

Over time, pillows tend to become flat and lose their bounce, regardless of the filling. Feathers disintegrate, leaving dust. Most people who have allergies tend to think it is the feathers in the pillow that irritates them, but actually it is this dust. The Pillow-Vac, with a small 2’ x 4’ size, is designed specifically for pillow renovating. It uses an ozone-emitting germicidal light to kill bacteria, sanitize and deodorize the filling. The old pillow is cut open and emptied into a tumble chamber which has rotating brushes that expose everything to germicidal lights while breaking up clumps that have formed. It fluffs up the down clusters, and sifts out the dust that has been trapped in the pillow. If it’s a feather and/or down pillow more new filling is added to bring it back to the density of a new pillow. At the end of the cycle all the filling is blown back into a new, 100 percent cotton feather- and downproof ticking. The entire process takes an average of three-to-four minutes per pillow.

Savings Resulting from the Pillow-Vac

The Pillow-Vac restoration process, which only takes a few minutes per pillow, basically makes a new pillow with the new ticking and renovated filling at a much lower cost than buying new pillows. The Hilton Concord’s cost to purchase new pillows is $18.00 to $24.50 per pillow, depending upon the size and style. The overall average cost of a new pillow is $20.70. The average cost of renovating a pillow with the Pillow-Vac is $8.56, providing an average net savings of $12.14 per pillow. This includes labor, energy and other associated costs associated with the operation of the Pillow-Vac. “Based on the projected number of renovated pillows per year, the annual savings from the Pillow-Vac is estimated to be $15,842. The ROI will result in approximately three months,” said Smith.

The Green Effect of Pillow-Vac

Consider the number of pillows required by Hilton Concord. Imagine more than 2,400 pillows being placed in a landfill every couple of years and the associated replacement and disposal costs.

The Pillow-Vac extends the life of an average pillow indefinitely, reducing a significant effect on area landfills. The ozone-emitting germicidal light, used to kill bacteria, sanitize and deodorize the filling, actually replenishes ozone in our atmosphere. Hilton Concord’s concern of the environment by utilizing the Pillow-Vac has a significant impact on their bottom line and their community’s environment. Some hotels and motels mistakenly try to wash their pillows, which will work for most synthetics, but not those filled with feathers or down. Machine washing down pillows destroys the integrity of down, and often will release countless feathers and down into the washing machine. The end result of this ill-fated attempt includes wasted water, wasted energy to heat the water, and the addition of needless detergents into the water drainage system. The Pillow-Vac contributes to the hotel’s green initiatives with the elimination of hot water use for pillow cleaning.

Harris Pillow Supply manufactures the Pillow-Vac and a complete line of pillows for the hotel and lodging markets worldwide, including a variety of down, synthetic blends and hypoallergenic pillows. Harris Pillow Supply is a family-owned business that has served the hotel and lodging industry since 1958. For more information on the Pillow-Vac or pillows by Harris visit www.harrispillow.com or e-mail sales@harrispillow.com or call (800) 845-8240.

Hilton Concord is owned and operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts, which has made a significant commitment to achieving a sustainability platform throughout their portfolio. For more information about the hotel, visit www.concord.hilton.com, or call Jack Hlavac, general manager, or Manivone Khangsengsing, director of housekeeping, at (925) 827-2000.

Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a 50/50 joint venture between subsidiaries of Thayer Lodging and Jin Jiang, is a leading U.S.-based global hotel management company, operating branded full- and select-service hotels and resorts, conference centers and independent hotels worldwide. Interstate and its affiliates manage and/or have ownership interests in nearly 400 hotels with more than 70,000 rooms in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The company has ownership in 58 of those hotels, including six wholly owned hotels.

Hotel Sustainability Solutions, Inc. is a leading hospitality sustainability company focusing on large and medium properties including conference/convention hotels and resorts. For more information, contact Charles A. Smith, CEO, at chuck@hotelsustainabilityinc.com or call (412) 445-4237.

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts

One of the most recognized names in the industry, Hilton Hotels & Resorts stands as the stylish, forward thinking global leader in hospitality. From inaugural balls and Hollywood award galas to business events and days to remember, Hilton is where the world makes history, closes the deal, toasts special occasions and gets away from it all. The flagship brand of Hilton Worldwide continues to build upon its legacy of innovation by developing products and services to meet the needs of tomorrow’s savvy global travelers while more than 144,000 Team Members shape experiences in which every guest feels cared for, valued and respected. Today, the Hilton Hotels & Resorts portfolio includes more than 540 hotels in 79 countries and the brand remains synonymous with “hotel.” Access the latest Hilton news at www.hiltonglobalmediacenter.com or begin your journey at www.hilton.com. Social media users can engage with Hilton at www.twitter.com/hiltononline,
www.facebook.com/hilton and www.youtube.com/hilton. Hilton Hotels & Resorts is one of Hilton Worldwide’s 10 market-leading brands.


Matthew Hohenstreet
Hilton Concord
(925) 349-2609

Charles A. Smith
Hotel Sustainability Solutions, Inc.
(412) 445-4237

John Harris
Harris Pillow Supply
(800) 845-8240