Home Publisher's Point of View A Peek at Hersha Hospitality Trust’s First Sustainability Report

A Peek at Hersha Hospitality Trust’s First Sustainability Report

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Hersha Hospitality Trust released its first sustainability report this past week. For those of you not familiar with Hersha, it is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and operates upscale hotels in urban gateway markets including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. The report can be found on Hersha’s website. It successfully captures some of the highlights of Hersha’s many green initiatives.

Being a REIT, Hersha is of course focused on financial performance. According to Bennett Thomas, Vice President of Finance & Sustainability for Hersha, any green investments Hersha makes always have to be the right thing to do for shareholders and must have a positive, cumulative return. Since it launched its EarthView program in 2010, steps to reduce energy and water consumption and waste generation have resulted in $3.2 million in savings. In a video that is part of Hersha’s sustainability report, Thomas says, “Looking at initiatives we have done and looking at initiatives we will have in place by the end of the year, [EarthView] will add $50 million of portfolio value to Hersha Hospitality Trust.”

With 2010 as the baseline year compared to 2014, Hersha has decreased carbon emissions per occupied room by 13 percent, water consumption by 8 percent, and waste sent to landfills by 42 percent. Energy consumption has been reduced by 13 percent. One example of an initiative that has resulted in energy savings: At the end of 2013, Hersha began the installation of guestroom energy management systems across its portfolio. The investment in the systems was $2.1 million. With an annual savings of $1 million, the payback period is two years. This year Hersha will invest heavily in LEDs to further reduce energy consumption.

Florida Hotels Get Special Attention

On the roof of the Residence Inn Coconut Grove in Florida, 336 solar photovoltaic panels have been installed. The system will generate more than 150,000 kWh of electricity each year for the hotel. At the Courtyard Cadillac Miami Beach/Oceanfront, Hersha recently added a LEED certified tower to the property.

Hersha has been a partner with Clean the World for more than four years. Last year 23,000 pounds of soap were donated to the nonprofit. With that soap Clean the World created 63,000 bars for those in need in developing nations. EarthView bottled water sold at hotels that are part of Hersha’s Independent Collection result in a $1 per bottle donation to www.water.org. In 2012, Hersha developed a corporate philanthropy program with a designated committee, including the CEO, that convenes on a monthly basis. Hersha has a partnership with Cornell University’s Statler Hotel. Through this partnership, students and professional hotel associates from The Statler collaborate with Hersha’s EarthView team to implement projects and initiatives as part of a comprehensive sustainability program.

I will be chatting with Matthew Lobach, Associate, Sustainability for Hersha in the next few days to learn more about Hersha’s sustainability initiatives. Be sure to look for the article soon on Green Lodging News. And, be sure to visit Hersha’s sustainability report.

Green Lodging News Adds ConservCo Case Study to Website

Green Lodging News has added a ConservCo case study to its website. The case study details how ConservCo was able to help a 196-room Caribbean resort dramatically reduce its water consumption by 27 million gallons annually. ConservCo performed an audit of the resort, its golf course, and landscape irrigation system. Using proprietary protocols and procedures based on standards and benchmarks derived from the US EPA, the US Green Building Council, and the Irrigation Assn., work performed by ConservCo technicians included inventorying fixtures and appliances, taking flow rate and static pressure measurements, checking for and measuring leaks, observing and documenting employee procedures, and cataloging each component of the resort’s irrigation system. Ultimately, the resort was able to reduce its utility expenses by approximately $370,000 a year. To access the entire case study, click here. Reach ConservCo at sales@conservco.us or by calling (775) 747-3333. You can also find more information at www.conservco.us/facilities.html.

Who is Your Sustainability Champion?

Green Lodging News is always looking to profile sustainability champions in our Personnel Profile section. If you would like to nominate someone for this section of Green Lodging News, contact me at (813) 510-3868, 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 (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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