An Inside Look: UCSB-Bren School Study Quantifies GHG Reductions of Green Seal-Certified Hotels in L.A.

In a market full of different certifiers, it is important for hotels to distinguish between a green-washed standard and one with real environmental benefits.

Green Seal recently collaborated with the Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, on a year-long study to quantify the environmental benefits (in terms of greenhouse gas [GHG] reductions) for hotels in the City of Los Angeles that are certified under Green Seal’s hotel standard (GS-33).

Let’s go back a few years to get the full picture…. in 2008, the City of Los Angeles recognized the role hotels can play in reducing the city’s overall GHG emissions, and created the Los Angeles Green Lodging Program (LAGLP) to meet its Climate Action Plan goals.  Green Seal was selected as the official certifier for the LAGLP, which now has 7 certified participating hotels including: JW Marriott Los Angeles LIVE, Hilton Universal City, Hilton Los Angeles Airport, Sheraton Gateway, Crowne Plaza, Westin Bonaventure, and Westin Los Angeles Airport. Los Angeles now has more Green Seal-certified hotels than any city in the nation (over 6 million square feet certified), with a number of additional hotels in the process of getting certified.  Until the recent Bren Study, however, neither the City nor Green Seal had a quantitative metric of the environmental benefits of the LAGLP.

The Bren team used electricity consumption data from 6 certified hotels in Los Angeles, and found that on average:

  • entering at Bronze level saw 2.8% reduction in GHG emissions,
  • those progressing to Silver saw an added reduction of 8.8% (hotels entering directly at Silver would see a 2.8% + 8.8% = 11.6% reduction)
  • those progressing to Gold saw a further reduction of 18.2% (hotels entering directly at Gold would see a 11.6% + 18.2% = 29.8% reduction)

The Bren team took this study one step further to see how Green Seal certification benefits a hotel itself. They conducted surveys of over 1000 participants and found that consumers were willing to pay $6.50 more per night for hotels with demonstrated sustainability measures.

A case study by the Bren team showed that meeting the most basic requirement in the GS-33 standard of upgrading lighting (mandated by the Bronze level), can reduce a hotel’s emissions by a total of 1,066 MT CO2 annually, which is equivalent to emissions from 225 passenger vehicles driven for a year. Furthermore, these replacements reaped financial benefits as well: over a 20-year project cash flow period, the hotel would see $1,562,157 in cumulative savings from avoided utility costs.  Hotels can target lighting upgrades as “low-hanging fruit” that yield higher benefits than costs.

GS Blog Infographic

Finally, the Bren team also created a user-friendly Excel-based tool that can be used by an individual hotel to calculate its GHG reductions and financial savings from different energy and electricity reduction projects undertaken because of Green Seal certification. This tool can be used by hotel managers and engineers to calculate their GHG and long-term financial savings.

As hotels across the globe increasingly embrace green practices, it is important for the lodging industry to pursue practices with real environmental benefits. Hotels can be one of the most energy and GHG intensive buildings, as they tend to keep lights on throughout hallways at night or run thermostats even when there are no occupants in the room. Green Seal’s GS-33 Hotels and Lodging Properties standard requires hotels to upgrade their energy intensive equipment and to integrate sustainability practices in their daily operations.

The Bren study strengthens the findings of an independent study by Washington State University, which stated that:  “The single most important thing is to become certified by an independent and credible agency such as Green Seal and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), the major certification programs in the lodging industry.”


bottom banner

Full Report    |    Report Summary

 

Earth Day with Airlie

By Mac Clevenger, Green Seal’s Marketing & Outreach Associate

This year I had the pleasure of celebrating Earth Day with (and at) one of Green Seal’s certified clients, Airlie. Airlie has been certified to the standard GS-33 Hotels and Lodging Properties since 2004. Certification to the standard GS-33 represents THE highest level of commitment to human and environmental health in the hospitality industry.

Earth Day is near and dear to both Airlie and Green Seal. After first introducing the idea for Earth Day at Airlie, Senator Gaylord Nelson selected Denis Hayes the first CEO and Chair of Green Seal – to organize the very first Earth Day in 1970. Following the success of the first Earth Day, Denis founded the Earth Day Network which eventually propelled the holiday to the international stage in 1990, organizing events in 141 nations. And now, at least according to Denis, Earth Day is “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.”

Senator Gaylord Nelson

Senator Gaylord Nelson

Denis Hayes

Denis Hayes

(more…)

A Monumental Time at Greenbuild 2015

Linda retouchedBy Linda Chipperfield, Green Seal’s VP of Marketing & Communications

The Greenbuild conference was loaded with opportunities for us this year. Not only was it conveniently held in our fair city (DC) many of our staff could attend, but we also got to visit with several current clients exhibiting at the expo. And as a USGBC board member, I was able to represent Green Seal at many of the leadership activities as well. Here are some highlights!

The opening plenary was introduced by HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who said that, “green means good health and more wealth”.  Rick Fedrizzi, President of USGBC, echoed the Secretary’s sentiment, saying the environment and the economy are deeply connected. This seemed to be a theme for the week, maybe because Rick’s new book is about how “profit saves the planet.” He quoted Francis Perkins, the first woman to hold a US cabinet position, who said, “There is work to be done, so we do it.” Another Perkins quote I like: “Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees.” (more…)

Presenting the Best Team at AASHE

The theme for the 2015 Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher education (AASHE) Conference & Expo was Transforming Sustainability Education. One well-attended presentation involving Green Seal clients and staff was a panel discussion on “Building the Best Team for a Sustainable Operation”.

The engaging and interactive session provided insights and solutions from four points of view. Steve Gilsdorf, from Western Michigan University (with Green Seal certification for its cleaning service) represented C&U facilities managers. Danny Huffaker of Georgia-Pacific, and Burt Klein of PortionPac Chemical Company represented manufacturers of Green Seal-certified sustainable sanitary paper and cleaning products, respectively. Mark Stanland, Green Seal’s VP of Client Services, represented the third-party ecolabel that awarded their certification. Mac Clevenger, also from Green Seal, moderated the panel.

AASHE Panelists Image

The panelists answered questions on whether green procurement guidelines are optimally working for housekeeping staff; how to easily identify the products and procedures that best protect staff, faculty, and student health; how procurement directors can source the best pricing and the most sustainable products; and how to be sure that the products and supplies purchased will meet performance expectations.

Green Seal also exhibited at the AASHE Conference & Expo, and traffic was heavy throughout the 2½-day show with many inquiries from facilities managers, faculty, and students about certified products and cleaning services.

Green Kleening Your Community One Building at a Time

MisterKleen EricKoch headshotBy Eric Koch, Mister Kleen Maintenance Company, Inc. Sales and Marketing Specialist

The cleaning industry certainly has evolved throughout the decades. This is especially true as it relates to the environmental movement, and the push for a healthier atmosphere using greener products, processes, and equipment.

While the 1970’s saw the creation of the EPA and OSHA, along with our very first Earth Day, it wasn’t until years later that we started to hear people talk more about cleaning for a healthier environment — “Cleaning for Health”.

Just Make it Look Clean!

Cleaning for Appearance was the phrase and direction we often received from clients throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and midway through the 90’s. There was no concern on the chemicals being used and the impact this was causing to building tenants and our employees. Our main objective was to make it look clean regardless of the impact these harsh chemicals had.

Flash forward to today and the conversation has changed to use green products to clean without releasing harsh odors that other chemical laden products have. This is what our green cleaning program, known as Green Kleen, is centered on to provide a healthier environment for us all.

Yes, being certified as a green cleaning company to Green Seal’s GS-42 Commercial and Institutional Cleaning Services standard is a differentiator for our company. What many people don’t know, however, is how green cleaning is near and dear to our story. (more…)

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City Achieves GOLD!

Hotel guests are demanding safer and more sustainable lodging options. And it is because of this commitment of caring for guests and staff that Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City is at the forefront of adopting practices that are more environmentally favorable and better for human health and safety.

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City is the second hotel in California and fifth nationwide to achieve Gold level certification under the Green Seal GS-33 Standard for Lodging Properties. The hotel was first certified in 2010. It is also one of the hotels in the LA Green Lodging Program, a partnership between the City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works Bureau of Sanitation, The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, and Green Seal.

As a Gold certified property, Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City meets the standard’s rigorous criteria and is raising the bar of leadership– practicing it on a daily basis. (more…)

The Benefits of Buying Green on Campus and Beyond

Daniel PedersenBy Daniel Pedersen, Ph.D., Green Seal’s VP of Science & Standards

The AASHE STARS program can serve as a road-map to more sustainable purchasing policies. Green purchasing can benefit higher education campuses in many ways, and even drive the sustainability of the broader market.

What’s to be gained from green purchasing? First of all, green products are reliable and cost-effective; the myth that they are more expensive and don’t work as well was debunked long ago. Environmentally-preferable products are specified by half of the state governments in the U.S.; if these products didn’t cut the mustard, states would have dropped them.

Second, any sustainable purchasing on campus can be used to strengthen your green branding, marketing, and alumni/customer relations. As we all know, there is increased interest among students, faculty, and employees in attending a sustainable college. (more…)