Home Green Design Hilton Vancouver, Washington Pursues U.S. Green Building Council Certification

Hilton Vancouver, Washington Pursues U.S. Green Building Council Certification


VANCOUVER, WASH.—The 226-room Hilton Vancouver, Washington, will know later this summer if it will become one of the United States’ first hotels to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED is a building rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.

The hotel, which is owned by the city of Vancouver, is managed by Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Hilton Hotels Corp. It was designed by Portland, Ore.-based Fletcher Farr Ayotte (FFA).

The design incorporates myriad sustainable design strategies, including sensors that adjust the climate control systems when rooms and hallways are vacant, a heat-reflecting roof, water-efficient landscaping, and guestrooms with windows that open to enable the flow of fresh air.

The hotel uses dimmable fluorescents wherever possible and has a limited number of parking spaces to encourage employees to use public transportation. An alternative fueling station is available for electric cars. Storm water from the building is funneled to underground dry wells which provide a natural filtering mechanism for the pollutants that have accumulated on the roof or around the building. The rain water is not released into the public sewer system.

Many of the building materials, including steel and particle board, were purchased from local vendors within 500 miles of the hotel. Interior paint, carpet and carpet glue are low-emissions materials, meaning that they emit few of the hazardous chemicals that traditional paints and carpets do. Seventy-five percent of the construction waste from the hotel was recycled. The building was constructed with recycled steel and recyclable brick.

The hotel earned LEED points for some of its green practices. For example, credits were given for the use of low emission paints, carpeting and furniture. Mike Shea, an associate with Fletcher Farr Ayotte, says the bulk of the LEED points earned were for selection of the downtown site for the hotel and for the indoor environmental quality initiatives.

City Invests in Energy Efficiency

Shea says the hotel initially was built to be highly efficient but an additional $125,000 was spent to take the property to the level where it would qualify for LEED certification. The payback on that investment was less than a year because of the money saved from energy management and lighting systems throughout the hotel.

In order to support the community, local vendors were used wherever possible.

“The case goods in the guestrooms were built in Bend, Ore.,” says Gerry Link, the hotel’s general manager. “All of the light fixtures in the ballroom were built in Portland from recycled aluminum. The artwork throughout the hotel was done by local artists. We use local bake shops for our restaurants.”

The city of Vancouver is requiring the hotel to host 20 charitable events each year at cost for Vancouver-based nonprofits.

“It helps keep the money and jobs in Vancouver and provides more money for the charities,” Link says.

In addition to LEED certification, the Hilton Vancouver, Washington is also pursuing Green Seal certification. Washington, D.C.-based Green Seal is an independent, nonprofit organization that strives to achieve a healthier and cleaner environment by identifying and promoting products and services that cause a minimal amount of pollution and waste.

Link says his hotel has gotten a lot of marketing mileage out of the LEED certification pursuit. Articles about the hotel have appeared in trade and other publications around the country, generating more than $1 million in publicity.

To learn more, contact Gerry Link, general manager, at gerry_link@hilton.com.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at: greenlodgingnews@aol.com.