Home Publisher's Point of View A Tip of the Hat to Woodbine Group for Rare LEED Accomplishment

A Tip of the Hat to Woodbine Group for Rare LEED Accomplishment

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Just before Thanksgiving, Syracuse-based Woodbine Group informed me that its 58-room, boutique-style Hotel Skyler had earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). I spoke with two representatives of Woodbine this past week and posted an article about the property that was once Temple Adath Yeshurun, a building first constructed in 1921. (Click here for article.) Congratulations to the team at Woodbine Group for achieving a distinction shared by only two other hotels in the United States—the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, N.C., and the Bardessono in Yountville, Calif.

USGBC’s rating system is points based with four levels: Certified (40 to 49 points); Silver (50 to 59 points); Gold (60 to 79 points); and Platinum (80 points and above). Achieving Platinum is not easy. Properties must score high in the following categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design, and Regional Priority.

What sets Hotel Skyler apart from other LEED projects is its highly creative reuse of an existing structure and its investment in a geothermal heating and cooling system. Sixteen vertical wells were dug just adjacent to the hotel. Each well is 499 feet deep and there are 68 water-to-air heat pumps. This system, along with LED and compact fluorescent lighting, a key card based guestroom energy management system and low-flow water fixtures ensures a low environmental impact. Lynee Sauer, business manager for Woodbine Group, told me that from an energy and water standpoint, Hotel Skyler is easily outperforming her company’s other two Syracuse hotels.

Woodbine Group has paid particular attention to incorporating regionally and locally produced materials and artwork into the hotel. Each guestroom has its own unique art and design. The bar serves sustainable wines, beer, and liquor. Stefon’s Marketplace offers healthy take-away meals, snacks, and coffee.

Hot Spot for Sustainable Development

Hotel Skyler has quickly reached 65 percent occupancy, just shy of Woodbine Group’s 70 percent goal. It, along with the Destiny USA retail project, is causing quite a buzz in the Syracuse area. As often happens with landmark green hotels, Hotel Skyler is hosting two or three tours each week. The property has become a mini-lab for sustainability.

Our industry needs more owners like the Woodbine Group—individuals willing to revitalize their own community while investing significantly in clean technologies. In the case of the Bardessono, it was Phil Sherburne investing in a 200-kilowatt solar energy system. In the case of the Proximity Hotel, it was Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels investing in a 100-panel solar water heating system.

If there was such a thing as a Green Hotel Hall of Fame, those Platinum hotels mentioned above would certainly be in it.

As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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