Given the huge impact the economic downturn has had on the hospitality industry, one would think that hotels and inns across Atlanta would be looking for ways to cut costs and scaling back unnecessary spending where possible. Yet a number of hotels have recently made significant investments in their properties, adding green features and implementing green practices such as recycling and linen reuse programs.
Here’s a closer look at Atlanta’s green hotels.
The Emory Conference Center Hotel
The Emory Conference Center Hotel (ECCH) attained Ledership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification in March of 2010 for its new five-story addition completed in 2009. It’s currently the only hotel in Atlanta to be LEED certified.
The addition connects to the existing building by a bridge and includes 127 new guest rooms, 6,000 square feet of additional meeting space, a six-lane bowling alley with retro décor that includes a full bar and game room, and a parking garage. The added guest rooms and meeting space will result in ECCH offering a total of 325 guest rooms with six suites and 32,000 square feet of meeting space. The ECCH addition is the 13th building to achieve LEED certification at Emory University.
When Emory University determined that ECCH needed additional space, they decided to continue their efforts to build green and installed a number of green features such as the use of low VOC paints and carpets and green cleaning products, single stream recycling and food digesting where all leftover food is recycled and turned into graywater for use in maintaining the landscaping. Additionally, the waste oils from the Center’s kitchen are taken to a recycling center and turned into bio-diesel fuel, which is used to operate the Cliff buses, Emory’s free campus shuttles.
These efforts have led to the following reductions in energy and water use and costs with a 50 percent reduction in irrigation for landscaping, 31 percent reduction in water usage and 18 percent reduction in over all energy consumption.
According to John Hill, Director of Sales and Marketing at ECCH, Emory has always been on the front edge of the green movement and the ECCH has been implementing green practices such as recycling, using low VOC paints and installing Energy Star appliances and low flush toilets for several years now.
While going green required an increased financial investment, it has benefited the Conference Center in a number of ways. According to Hill, the Center “has been able to do more business with organizations that share the same view,” he said.
ECCH is a member of the Green Hotels Association and as mentioned, is one of two hotels in Atlanta to be certified by Green Seal, Inc. The hotel is located at 1615 Clifton Road across from Emory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information or to make reservations, visit www.emoryconferencecenter.com.
Hotel Palomar, a Kimpton Hotel located on West Peachtree Street between 6th and 7th streets, believes that luxury and sustainability go hand in hand. According to the hotel’s General Manager Mark Fischer, the Kimpton Hotel company based in San Francisco, has been on the forefront of the “earth care” movement for many years now.
“We believe in protecting our community and giving back to the community. We took our time in developing the green practices we wanted to embrace because we know we have guests who want to participate in the green movement,” he said.
Some of the eco-friendly features that Hotel Palomar offers include in-room recycling bins, towel and linen reuse program, which helps to reduce water and energy use, efficient lighting fixtures that reduce energy consumption throughout the hotel, low- flow toilets, showers and faucets, paperless check in and much more.
Additionally, each department in the hotel has a Green Team and a leader who is responsible for ensuring that his or her department is instituting green practices. Hotel Palomar recently received the Green Seal certification for its efforts. For more information or to make reservations, visit www.hotelpalomar-atlantamidtown.com.
Like the Hotel Palomar, the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia equates sustainability with comfort and beauty. Nestled in a lush setting minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Perimter Mall and the surrounding businesses, the Crowne Plaza offers guests an environmentally-friendly and serene oasis in the middle of the city.
Sustainable features include green meeting rooms, a linen reuse program, low-flow showerheads and sink faucets in all guestrooms, energy efficient lighting in public spaces throughout the hotel and biodegradable cleaning chemicals. The hotel also donates partially used guestroom amenities, discarded linen and furniture to local charity organizations.
Because the Crowne Plaza is better known outside the United States, the hotel sought green certification through Green Globe, the premier international brand for sustainable travel, tourism and related green businesses. An affiliate member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Green Globe employs a certification process that verifies achievements against international sustainability standards.
For Craig Hillyard, the General Manager of The Crowne Plaza, the certification process was intense. “It’s more than just conservation and recycling. They expect you to involve the community and it requires a lot of good will. We have been working on green initiatives for a long time and we have staff that are passionate about going green so we had a solid basis in place,” he said.
Following the lead of their management company, Crestline Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza has been employing practices such as recycling and composting, energy and water conservation and environmentally friendly purchasing policies that proactively impact the hotel, its’ guests and the community since last year. For more information or reservations, visit www.cpravinia.com.
Built in 1896 and listed on the National Historic Register, the former Hinman House was extensively renovated and restored in 2008 and became the Stonehurst Place, a bed and breakfast located in the heart of Midtown. This historic preservation, which used EarthCraft House standards (like those of LEED) employs a number of sustainable features in a highly personal and unique setting.
Some of the features include separately zoned heating and air conditioning, solar panels for heating and hot water usage, low-flow toilets and faucets, greywater for landscape irrigation, eco-friendly cleaning and laundry products, in-room recycling and much more.
These eco-friendly features have led to significant reductions in operating costs, according to owner and interior designer Barb Shadomy, who said the decision to “go green” was made “not by analyzing costs and return on investment, but by deciding it was the way we wanted to live and the environment we wanted to provide for guests.”
Stonehurst was recently awarded the “Most Green Conscious of 2010” by Lanier’s Bed and Breakfast, one of the largest international bed and breakfast innkeeper organizations and travel guides. The Stonehurst Place Bed & Breakfast is located at 923 Piedmont Avenue. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.stonehurstplace.com.
Other Atlanta-area hotels that have or are currently beginning to implement green initiatives include the W Hotel at Perimeter, the Sheraton Downtown Atlanta and the Ellis Hotel on Peachtree. In August of 2010, the Atlanta Airport Marriot Gateway, a LEED-certified hotel is expected to open. For more information on green hotels, visit www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com.