The Hilton Vancouver, Washington, one of America’s first sustainably-designed hotels, makes history again this month as the first hotel in the world to earn both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Seal certifications. Green Seal, an independent nonprofit organization providing science-based environmental certification accolade comes three years after the hotel became the first major U.S. hotel – and the first Hilton Hotel - to earn LEED certification.
“The Hilton Vancouver, Washington is the only hotel in the world to achieve environmental sustainability certification from two top universally accepted and independent analysts,” said Jeff Diskin, senior vice president, brand management - Hilton Hotels & Resorts. “This hotel has set a new standard for helping to minimize environmental impact while providing the very best in service and amenities to guests.”
Late last month, the Hilton Vancouver, Washington became Green Seal certified. Based on Green Seal criteria, the hotel implemented a Comprehensive Environmental Management Program for property operations which includes: elimination of hazardous substances, use of biodegradable cleaning products, waste water management, energy efficiency and conservation, waste minimization, reuse and recycling and an environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policy. The Green Seal standards are internationally recognized as credible, transparent and fair and provide third party validation through science-based testing that a product works as well or better than others in its class. Standards are established with input from representatives of various industries, governments and academia.
Additionally as part of the Green Seal program, the hotel composts or donates excess food to reduce waste, minimize its carbon footprint and support the local community. Over the past 12 months, more than 200,000 pounds of compostable material and product, including food waste, has been diverted from landfills through the hotel’s efforts.
“Because the hotel had a head start with LEED certification, adopting the Green Seal policies seemed like the next logical step,” said Gerry Link, general manager of the Hilton Vancouver, Washington. “Our entire team takes great pride in the fact that the Hilton Vancouver, Washington is a leader in the hospitality industry in implementing environmentally sound sustainable green practices,” said Link. “In the past seven months alone we’ve recycled more than 28,000 pounds of cardboard and we continue to find innovative ways to support the greening of travel and meetings and our overall operations.”
Owned by the City of Vancouver, Wash., and managed by Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotels Corporation, the Hilton Vancouver, Washington integrates some of the most advanced environmentally-friendly features found in the hotel industry.
Soon after opening its doors in 2005, the Hilton Vancouver, Washington became one of the first hotels in the world to earn the coveted U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED certification, a nationally accepted benchmark for the design and construction of high performance green buildings. The certification confirms that third-party experts have verified that the hotel satisfies criteria for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Today, the hotel is one of six LEED certified hotels in the United States.
In order to achieve LEED certification, the hotel incorporated several key energy-saving and waste-reducing strategies into its design and construction, including heat-reflecting rooftops and water-efficient landscaping. All windows within the hotel are energy efficient and all plumbing fixtures are low flow to limit water use.
Some of the hotel’s eco-friendly measures include the following:
Reducing energy use: The hotel provides alternative fueling stations for electric cars and encourages its team members to find alternative methods of transportation to and from work. The hotel runs on 30 percent less energy than local codes require and CO2 sensors turn off heating and cooling systems in empty rooms, meeting areas and hallways.
Water-efficient landscaping: The Hilton Vancouver, Washington’s irrigation system reduces water use by 50 percent and the hotel features local native plants that need little water during the area’s long, dry summer season. Storm water from the hotel is funneled to underground dry wells, which provide a natural filtering mechanism for pollutants.
Fighting the urban island heat effect: A white reflective roof helps the hotel dissipate heat and reflect it back into space, rather than adding to the heat island effect that can afflict urban areas.
Designing green guest rooms: Operable windows in all guest rooms allow fresh air to enter the building and help control indoor pollutants. Additionally, the hotel was built with recyclable brick and 75 percent of the construction waste from the hotel was recycled.
Supporting local vendors and sustainability: The hotel uses materials from local and regional vendors within a 500 mile radius to support community vendors and reduce transportation impact. Building supplies are often purchased from local suppliers and Gray’s At The Park, the Hilton Vancouver, Washington’s restaurant, uses produce from a local farmers market and meat, fish, cheese, wine and bread from local farmers and producers.