Hotel chain receives LEED Volume Pre-Certification for its prototype design


Eco-chic boutique Element Hotels, which is the first major hotel brand to mandate that all its properties pursue USGBC's LEED certification, has achieved LEED Volume Pre-certification from USGBC for its prototype design, which will automatically qualify new build hotels to pursue LEED designation.


The Volume Pre-certification initiative is part of USGBC's Portfolio Program, which enables companies and building owners to integrate LEED into new and existing building projects using a cost-effective, streamlined certification process without sacrificing the technical rigor and integrity of LEED. The Portfolio Program recognizes market leaders who have committed to and achieved high levels of LEED certification within their portfolio. Through a volume certification, a majority of LEED prerequisites and credits can be "pre-certified."


"By using LEED certification across its building portfolio, Element has demonstrated its dedication to economic, environmental and human health," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "Buildings represent a tremendous opportunity to address climate change, energy dependence, increasing operating costs and the need for good green jobs. To maximize this opportunity, we need to focus on our entire building stock, and achieving LEED certification at the portfolio level is a great way for an organization to move us closer to that goal."


Element's LEED Volume Pre-certified prototype is based on the brand's Lexington, MA property, which achieved LEED Gold certification in 2008. At that property, sustainable strategies led to 20 % more energy-efficiency; a 32% reduction in water use, for a savings of nearly 942,000 gallons; nearly 70% of power purchased as Green Power; and the use of low-VOC materials throughout the hotel.


The Element brand also created a groundbreaking online "LEED Developer Roadmap" to support its partners in pursuit of environmentally responsible development. The Roadmap utilizes the learning from Element Lexington and provides a cost-effective strategy and guidance on the execution and documentation of LEED-NC, including strategies on why and how a specific credit was pursued.


At Element, which has become Starwood's "green lab," LEED certification is just the stepping-off point for sustainability initiatives, added Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. "Building more efficient hotels is just the beginning for us. We have developed a Green Operations program for Element that ensures that even after opening and achieving LEED certification, hotels operate in a sustainable manner. Initiatives like our Sustainable Meetings program, bike rentals, electric-car charging stations, and green cleaning all contribute to conserving natural resources and reducing waste. And, all these initiatives also serve to enhance the overall guest experience."


Starwood itself recently revealed plans to significantly reduce energy and water consumption at every one of its 1,000 hotels within a decade. Starwood will aim for a 30% reduction in energy use per available room by 2020; the company will also work toward a 20% decrease in water consumption per available room by 2020. The initiative builds on a long-standing commitment to conservation and sustainable operations at Starwood. The Element brand's LEED initiatives helped lay the groundwork for Starwood's own sustainability program.


Launched by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. in 2008, the Element brand delivers a no-compromise, eco-chic experience enhanced by comfortable and inspiring public spaces, modern touches, and smart design. Element Hotels is the first major hotel brand to mandate that all its properties pursue the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for high-performance buildings.


SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.  

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