Filed under: business, design, environmental issues, travel | Tags: Dennis Quaintance, Green Day at Hohspitality Design Expo, LEED for hospitality, Proximity Hotel, USGBC
I had the privilege of attending the Green Day portion of the Hospitality Design Expo in Vegas last Wednesday. I think it was a great success! One of the highlights for me included hearing from Dennis Quaintance who owns Proximity Hotel-slated to be the first LEED platinum hotel in the US. He brought a very capitalistic view to the discussion with a focus on return on investment. He also said while he should be proud to be the first platinum certified hotel in the nation, instead he was really embarrassed at how easy it was to reach that level and how little it added to the overall cost of the project. To address Kelsey’s post from last week, there were quite a few developers and brand represenatives present and I know they were all listening carefully to his part of the lecture in particular. We’re starting to see a shift in the market and as consumers demand more eco-friendly properties, the owners will have no choice, but to respond. The business aspect of it makes sense as well. You can lower your operations costs, you can increase interest in your hotel/resort, and get higher occupancy rates. These are proven facts.
The best part of the day, though, was the roundtable discussion set up by the USGBC to discuss a LEED for Hospitality category. They explained a bit about how they decide what new categories need to be introduced. Since time is critical, they want to pick the building types that will have the largest impact on society and will educate the most people. Hotels do meet that criteria since there are so many and they have a unique opportunity to reach more people than your average office building.
After those initial questions are answered, the USGBC begins a needs assesment. They assemble an advisory group made up of industry leaders to look at what changes need to be made to the existing checklists. They said they would most likely keep about 80% of the points the same and adjust the other 20% to be industry specific. They also set up public sessions (like the one at this conference) and will send out a survey for anyone who’s interested in sharing their comments. If you’d like to have some input you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in the survey. After that, they go through an internal staff analysis & set up a timeline. Then, they present the assesment to the LEED steering committee for approval. If they still see the need for the new category then they’ll go through a technical advisory group review, 2 public comment phases (that take 5-6 months), a member ballot, and finally resource development. I had no idea it was such a long process! If LEED for Hospitality gets the go ahead, it will still be at least another year in the making.
The part that we played was analyzing the existing checklist and discussing what changes needed to be made. Each table addressed a different issue, took notes, and the notes are now being compiled by the USGBC and integrated into the assesment. The table that I led focused on resorts. There was some great discussion and I was excited to be a part of the process.
Sorry for the long post. I had a lot to share and I still feel like I barely scratched the surface!
Rebecca _San Francisco
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