Up on the Roof—the Fifth Floor Roof—of the Hilton New York

4/20/2012 By Glenn Hasek

Ever get a tune stuck in your head that you just cannot get out? Since reading a press release about the Hilton New York’s green initiatives this past week, “Up on the Roof” keeps bouncing around in my noggin. Those of you old enough will know the song; it’s a classic. Those of you too young…well, find it on YouTube.

There is a lot going on up on the fifth-floor roof of the 48-story Hilton New York, New York City’s largest hotel with 1,981 rooms. Five years ago it became the home for a fuel cell system that meets about 6 percent of the hotel’s electricity needs. That system also provides heat that is captured to help heat the hotel’s hot water. I spoke with Mike Smith, director of property operations for the Hilton New York this past week and he told me the fuel cell system generates 200 kilowatts of electricity each hour.

Hilton Worldwide just announced that the Hilton New York will add, by August, a cogeneration system that will generate 1.75 megawatts of additional electricity each hour. Consisting of seven 250 kW energy modules, the system will provide in excess of 50 percent of the hotel’s electrical power and more than 40 percent of its steam consumption for heating and hot water requirements. Mike told me the system’s vendor will own the system. It will sell the electricity to the hotel as part of a 10-year lease agreement. The major upside to the deal is that the hotel will get to use the waste heat for no additional cost. “The big savings comes in the waste heat,” Mike said. The hotel will also be paying for electricity at a rate lower than that charged by the local utility.

Major Cut in Carbon Footprint

The combination of the fuel cell and cogeneration systems will result in less negative impact on the environment as the fuel cell system is combustion free and the cogeneration system will rely on natural gas. The cogeneration system alone will reduce the Hilton New York’s carbon footprint by more than 30 percent. The carbon dioxide reduction into the atmosphere will be more than 10,000 metric tons per year—equal to removing more than 6,000 mid-sized sedans from the roads.

Oh, and back to that fifth floor roof. It recently got a new low-reflective cover that will help reduce the hotel’s contribution to the urban heat island effect. On top of that new roof, 16,000 square feet in size, is a new green roof system that will host locally grown plants harvested from an upstate New York farm. The foliage and roots of those plants naturally absorb airborne pollutants, which in turn prevents large quantities of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. Additionally, the vegetated rooftop deflects solar radiation and reduces the thermal load, reducing the energy previously expended in cooling the property.

Aesthetically, the green roof will improve the appearance of the building, as it is seen by those who work in surrounding buildings. Plants will eventually reach about three to four inches in height.

What is happening on the fifth floor roof of the Hilton New York is just a part of what is going on at the hotel to reduce its overall environmental impact. Hilton Worldwide should be commended for making its almost 2,000-room property a showcase for green technology.

Green Lodging News Adds Continental Girbau as Founding Sponsor

Green Lodging News announces the addition of Continental Girbau, Inc. as a Founding Sponsor. Continental Girbau, a manufacturer and supplier of commercial and industrial laundry equipment, offers a web of support services to its hospitality clients, including financing, laundry design, technologically-advanced laundry equipment, a parts facility, and a professional distributor network. Continental and Girbau Industrial washer-extractors, tunnel washers, drying tumblers, flatwork ironing systems, folders, stackers and feeders withstand the rigors of multiple cycles, offer highly programmable controls and are designed to reduce utility consumption. To learn more about Continental, visit www.continentalgirbau.com, or call (800) 256-1073.

Green Lodging News Adds Grundfos Case Study to Website

Green Lodging News has added a Grundfos Pumps Corp. case study to its website. The case study focuses on the Sunset Motor Inn in Morrisville, Vermont and a major pump-retrofit project that took place there. The installation included the replacement of 18 fixed-speed circulating pumps in the heating system at the Sunset with 10 circulators from the Grundfos Pumps Corporation. Six of the pumps were conventional, fixed-speed circulators. The remaining four replacement units were energy-saving, variable-speed, “smart” circulators. To access the case study, click here.

Who is Your Company’s Green Champion?

Every two or three weeks Green Lodging News features a sustainability/green champion in its Personnel Profile section. I am currently seeking suggestions for individuals to profile. Got someone to nominate? Contact me at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Planning Advertising for 2012?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2012. Many excellent spots are available on the website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2012 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (440) 243-2055, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com. A media kit can also be accessed by clicking here. Thank you to all of those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

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