For those of you not familiar with Hersha Hospitality Trust, it is a real estate investment trust that invests in hotels (48 hotels, 7,644 rooms). The company is organized in Maryland, with its principal office in Harrisburg, Pa. Hersha created its award-winning sustainability program, EarthView, in 2010. Hersha just released its 2018 Sustainability Report.
According to Hersha, since 2010 it has seen a $65 million increase in portfolio value thanks to EarthView. It has also experienced $11 million in savings. Compared to 2010, Hersha has seen a 15 percent reduction in energy per square foot, 41 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses per square foot, and 3 percent reduction in water per square foot. Last year, Hersha had a waste diversion rate of 25 percent.
A few social impact highlights:
- Forty-five percent of workforce is women.
- Total of 17,150 hours volunteered in local communities since 2015.
- Total of nonprofits assisted since 2017: 270.
- Raised for autism awareness since 2015: $440,000.
- 500,000 new bars of sanitized and repackaged soap sent to developing nations since 2011.
Says Jay H. Shah, in the CEO message in the report, “Over the past year we aligned our sustainability-focused priorities and achievements with global efforts. This includes framing our priorities using the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, reporting our environmental metrics using the gold-standard Greenhouse Gas Protocol methodology, and committing to setting internationally recognized Science-Based Targets.
Examples of technology investments that have saved the company $2 million in utility costs: LED lighting and guestroom energy management systems installed across the portfolio over the last four years.
Laundry-Water Reuse System
An example of an initiative that is reducing water consumption: For its hotels with on-site laundry, washers consume a significant amount of water every year. In November 2018, Hersha installed a laundry-water reuse system (AquaRecycle) at the Courtyard San Diego that reduces its water consumption from laundry cycles by 80 percent. Hersha is evaluating opportunities to install this system at our other hotels.
Examples of waste-reducing investments: In August 2018, all Hersha hotels discontinued use of plastic straws and stirrers and replaced them with paper straws and wooden stirrers. Over the course of a year, Hersha will avoid using over 4 million pieces of plastic straws and stirrers.
Over the past few years, Hersha has been recognized four times as winner of NAREIT’s Leader in the Light in the Lodging & Resorts sector for superior sustainability practices. This year, Hersha received the 2018 Adrian Award for Corporate Social Responsibility by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). This award recognizes companies that are leaders in environmental impact, associate relations, and community support.