More and more, the hospitality industry is finding that the cost of sustainability is a good investment.
By Jenny Rebholz Schrank, Allied ASID
The hospitality market is not so different from other specialties when it comes to embracing LEED® certification and sustainable initiatives. In fact, green is likely here to stay as hotel brands implement basic principles of sustainability, evaluating the upfront costs versus the long-term investment. Hospitality designers need to be educated on the topic and do the necessary research to answer more questions about the products they specify.
“A LEED hotel will generally cost 20 to 25 percent more,” says Connie Jackson, ASID, senior designer with Wilson Associates in Dallas. “An owner has to buy into that concept. Hopefully, the return on his investments will pay for itself.”
While hoteliers may not embrace the LEED certification process from start to finish, they are eager to put their spin on sustainability. “Most brands in the industry right now have researched LEED and developed their own initiative based on the guiding principles within it,” explains Patrick Johnson of Atlanta’s ai3 Inc. “The low hanging fruit, like low-VOC materials and management of waste, is now a given.”
Other designers agree: “In Florida, we have seen more requests for sustainable design on the hotel side. Projects are either going for LEED certification or adopting utility conservation programs like the Florida Green Lodging program,” describes Angela Hinton of L2 Studios in Orlando, Fla. “The designer has an increased responsibility to know absolutely every detail about a product’s origin, construction and appropriate application, especially with products and finishes that are being produced overseas.”
The good news is that more clients are interested in American products, which is part of a sustainable mindset. “The biggest design trend I see is that five years ago, everyone was buying Chinese product for cost reasons. Lately, the trend has been to buy American,” shares Jackson. “It’s great for our own economy, plus we can see the quality to start to rise. Clients know it will cost more but believe in American products.”
Hospitality Expectations (ASID ICON Winter 2011)
Jenny Rebholz Schrank, Allied ASID, is a writer and marketing consultant.