Marriott International, Inc. plans to expand its green-hotel portfolio ten-fold over the next five years by introducing a green-hotel prototype that will be pre-certified as meeting LEED standards.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green-building-certification system designed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The green-hotel prototype, which will be available in April 2010, will save owners approximately $100,000 and six months in design time and will reduce a hotel’s energy and water consumption by up to 25 per cent, based on national averages, according to Marriott. The company says these savings, combined with incentives offered in many jurisdictions, could provide a payback for the LEED-building investment in about two years.
Referred to by the USGBC as “volume build certification,” the green-hotel prototype has been created for Marriott’s Courtyard brand, which has a development pipeline of nearly 160 hotels worldwide. In 2010, the company expects to introduce similar green-hotel prototypes for its Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites brands, which represent more than 290 hotels in the pipeline worldwide.
“Marriott’s’ commitment makes it among the first in the world to commit to implementing green buildings on this scale,” says Doug Gatlin, Vice President, USGBC. Marriott was the first hospitality member of the USGBC, and has more than 20 LEED-accredited professionals on staff.
While many of the benefits of LEED certification ― such as improved energy savings, better indoor air quality and reduced CO2 emissions are transparent to guests, others such as easy access to public transportation, in-room recycling, and light sensors in the guest rooms are easier to identify. These features are becoming more important to travelers, who say that supporting environmentally responsible travel service suppliers is a necessity even in an economic downturn, according to the U.S. Travel Association and Ypartnership.
“The green hotel prototype gives Marriott a competitive edge with guests who prefer a green hotel experience, and with the growing number of owners and franchisees who want to provide it,” Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and chief operating officer, said at the USGBC’s annual Green Build conference in Phoenix on November 11.
The Courtyard Settler’s Ridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, scheduled to open in the summer of 2010, will be the first hotel to be built based on the new green-hotel prototype concept.
“We are very excited to have collaborated with Marriott on this significant initiative to help mold the Courtyard brand to be green for the future. We are committed to green-building designs which are now being incorporated at different levels in every building we develop. We expect to build many more LEED-certified hotels using this prototype in the future,” says Mark Laport, president and CEO, Concord Hospitality.
Marriott already has 50 hotels registered for LEED, with 15 open or set to open by the end of 2010. The Inn & Conference Center by Marriott at the University of Maryland in College Park was the first LEED hotel in North America, and the recently opened Portland Courtyard City Center in Oregon has newly been awarded LEED-Gold status.
Other green hotels are planned in the Caribbean and Latin America, in partnership with Caribe Hospitality. To date, says Marriott, there are only 31 LEED-certified hotels throughout the entire U.S. lodging industry.
Building on more than 20 years of energy-conservation experience, Marriott says it is committed to protecting the environment. The company’s Spirit To Preserve environmental strategy calls for greening its $10-billion supply chain; further reducing fuel and water consumption by 25 per cent per available room; creating green construction standards for hotel developers to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council; educating and inspiring employees and guests to support the environment; and helping protect the rainforest.
Earlier this year, Marriott invited guests to add to the company’s $2 million commitment to help save the rainforest in Brazil. More information is available at www.marriott.com/savetherainforest or www.marriott.com/green-brazilian-rainforest.mi.