Today, guests around the world are extremely conscious about the kind of hotels they live and holiday in. They constantly need to be reassured that the hotel they are staying at is environmentally friendly and so, gone are the days when ‘environmental consciousness’ was just a fad.
Today, hotels are pushed to take concrete measures towards reducing their use of energy, water, engage in recycling and harness the benefits of alternate energy sources like solar. Additionally, legislation’s and government regulations too require business of all sizes, including those in the hospitality sector, to reduce their carbon footprint and thus LEED certification has gained popularity.
This article is a brief introduction to LEED certification and will set you thinking on options available to your hospitality property to go green.
What is LEED
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized Green Building Rating System and measures how efficiently a building or hotel property performs across a relevant set of metrics like energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, improved indoor environment quality as well as use of natural resources in construction and their impacts.
LEED certification is issued by the US Green Building Council, an independent, non-profit, third-party rating system. LEED’s certification is a rigorous process whereby hotels have to meet strict standards for everything from recycling to water efficiency. Important to note is that the LEED rating system is completely voluntary and consensus-based, incorporating both established industry principles and innovative environmental technology.
LEED is the most widely recognized form of green building certification in the world, and for a hotel that wants to establish a prominent competitive advantage, it is a must. There are four levels of LEED certification that a hotel can strive for, namely, certificate, silver, gold and platinum.
The LEED website says, LEED promotes a holistic approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health, namely, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
Benefits of LEED
An LEED certification has numerous advantages both on a hotels bottom line and for enhanced value among guests:
- Lower operating costs – through reduced utility bills
- Increased property value
- Healthier & safer environment for occupants
How Can a Hotel get LEED Compliant?
An LEED certification has numerous advantages. Initially it may seem that the hotel needs to invest in putting in place compliance related technology and processes, but in the long run these solutions reduce hotels expenditure, be it through reduced energy consumption, water consumption, use of recycled products which are cost effective etc.
In a situation where competition is high, no matter what the size of your hotel property it makes sense to promote ‘responsible leisure’ and adopt low carbon techniques. This can be done aggressively or in a phased manner. Some of the things a hotel property can do to get LEED compliant include
- Engaging in recycling of both solid waste and waste water
- Upgrading lighting and lighting controls to those that offer higher efficiency and have reduced mercury content
- Installing motion sensors in all restrooms, telecom and electrical closets
- Replacing office supplies with cost-neutral, greener alternatives or recycled options, send and store e-receipts
- Converting to china and flatware in the company cafeteria and eliminate disposable products
- Switch from evening to daytime office cleaning
- Switching to solar energy products like solar water heaters and solar inverters
- Adopting LED lights rather than incandescent lights
- Ensuring the property is designed in an environmentally friendly manner and uses construction material that is locally sourced
- Adopting methods to enhance water efficiency both when water is consumed externally for landscaping and internal in rooms
- Adopting zero garbage or solid waste management
- Adopting and follow a green cleaning policy
Why get LEED Certified?
Hotels, from luxury, to chains to standalone properties are now exploring the option of an LEED certification. The advantage of this certification is that it is recognized by guests and the media, internationally and this allows a property to attract guests who are environmentally conscious. It also allows hotels to display their thought leadership and commitment to the environment while also reducing costs internally.
You do not need to be a five star hotel or a large resort before considering an LEED certification. What you need is initiative.