NATIONAL REPORT—With baby steps. That is how the lodging industry is approaching the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Only two hotels have been LEED certified—one in Sri Lanka, and the Marriott-managed Inn & Conference Center at the University of Maryland University College in Adelphi. The Hilton Vancouver, Washington, and other hotels are pursuing LEED certification.
What is USGBC? It consists of a coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. LEED certification distinguishes building projects that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by meeting the highest performance standards.
LEED was created to define “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement, promote integrated, whole-building design practices, recognize environmental leadership in the building industry, stimulate green competition, raise consumer awareness of green building benefits, and transform the building market.
To earn LEED certification, an applicant project must satisfy all of the prerequisites and a minimum number of points to attain a LEED rating level. Points are given for things such as accessibility to public transportation, the use of recycled materials, and low emission paints, carpeting and furniture.
Why certify? According to USGBC’s website (www.usgbc.org), a hotel can benefit in these ways: establish recognized leadership in the green building sector; validate achievement through third party review; qualify for a growing array of state and local government incentives; contribute to a growing green building knowledge base; and earn a LEED certification plaque and certificate.
For more information, call the Washington, D.C.-based USGBC at (202) 828-7422.
Glenn Hasek is the publisher and editor of Green Lodging News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.