The pace of green building in the hospitality sector is on the rise, and it doesn’t require making any sacrifice in the luxury of your stay away from home, according to a new report from the U.S. Green Building Council.
It’s no secret that with operations running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, hotels consume natural resources at a high rate. Representing more than 5 billion square feet of space in the United States alone, there is an enormous opportunity for the industry — and guests — to positively affect the built environment, according to the USGBC.
For years, USGBC has diligently made progress toward greening the hospitality sector. Among these efforts was the establishment of the LEED User Group for Hospitality and Venues, which engages in multifaceted dialogue and peer-to-peer collaboration to identify best practices, lessons learned and ongoing challenges for sustainability in the sector. The LEED in Motion: Hospitality report brings the dialogue to a wider network and highlights the opportunity for triple-bottom-line wins when hotels think sustainably.
Across the world, demand for green hotels is rising. Today, LEED-certified hotels of all sizes are found in more than 40 U.S. states, 31 countries and five continents. It’s a movement sparked in part by guest preferences. According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, nearly two-thirds of travelers reported plans to make more environmentally friendly choices over the next year. And while on vacation, 88 percent of travelers turned off lights when not in their hotel room, 78 percent participated in the hotel’s linen and towel reuse program and 58 percent used recycling in the hotel.
In response to this shift, companies such as Starwood’s Elements brand, Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotel Group and Hyatt Hotels include LEED mandates and policies in their design and construction specs. ITC Hotels in India requires not just LEED certification, but also top performance.