Home Green Design Lorraine Francis: the Leading ‘Green Voice’ for NEWH’s Sustainable Hospitality Committee

Lorraine Francis: the Leading ‘Green Voice’ for NEWH’s Sustainable Hospitality Committee


Name: Lorraine Francis AIA, LEED BD+C
Title: Director, NEWH Sustainable Hospitality Committee
Years as Director: 1.5
Committee’s Primary Responsibilities: “The main focus is on the Green Voice series. We try to do three presentations at Boutique Design New York, Boutique Design West, and HD Expo. We also have two student scholarships that get awarded at HD Expo.”
Additional Title: Regional Director of Hospitality Interiors, Gensler

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIF.—As Director of NEWH’s Sustainable Hospitality Committee, Lorraine Francis leads monthly committee meetings in preparation for educational discussions at key industry events. She works with various subcommittees within the Sustainable Hospitality Committee and has been instrumental in pushing the discussion around sustainability to a higher level. Francis has been on the Sustainable Hospitality Committee for several years and took over as Director in June 2015.

One of the Committee’s challenges is “how you make sustainability fun,” Francis says. “Additionally, how can we create more events around sustainability at the local chapter level? Recruiting new people into our committees is also a goal.” The Committee is also responsible for contributing one article each quarter to the NEWH magazine.

At this May’s HD Design Expo, the NEWH Sustainable Hospitality Committee will be organizing four educational sessions as part of its Green Voice series. The sessions will take place on May 4 and 5. The NEWH Student Green Scholarship Awards will be presented on May 4.

In her position as Regional Director of Hospitality Interiors, Gensler, in Newport Beach, Calif., Francis works on design and architectural interior integration, and business development.

Focus on Sustainability Education

“[At Gensler] we are trying to do a lot of education on sustainability,” Francis says. “All of our projects are looking through a lens of sustainability. A lot of people don’t want to pay for LEED but we still have a lot of LEED hotels.” Francis mentioned the LEED Gold Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif., as one Gensler project and the upcoming Found 140 hostel in San Francisco as another.

Francis is intrigued by the science of hospitality, aspects of wellness, materials innovation, and bringing nature into design. She is currently working on a new research project on “Biophilic Design” and trying to determine its impact on the guest experience.

“You can now make a wood floor in porcelain or vinyl,” Francis says. “Our brain still knows that it is not wood. We are trying to figure out how to quantify that into RevPAR.”

Francis has been studying the science of sleep as well. “Society in general is sleep deprived,” she says. “How do we improve the sleep experience? How can we create something that can really help you rejuvenate? We are starting to have some conversations. A lot of the brands are searching for what is right.”

Francis, an author, architect, award-winning interior designer, speaker and entrepreneur, is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design. She also participated in an architecture study abroad program in Florence, Italy through Syracuse University.

Go to NEWH and Gensler.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.