Marriott celebrates 100th LEED property

WASIN_004 Front Entrance

The Residence Inn Arlington Ballston joins more than 100 Marriott properties around the world that are LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified for the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Residence Inn Arlington Ballston, in Virginia, is designed to LEED Gold standards and will help contribute to a healthier environment by reducing waste and conserving energy and water.

Renowned international architecture and interior design firm BBG-BBGM was responsible for creating the vision and architectural design for the Residence Inn in Arlington, VA. Collaborating with Paladino & Company, BBG-BBGM offered the direction and impetus for the project to be a sustainable property, which helped it to earn LEED Gold Status. Other key project partners included GHT Ltd., Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing Engineers, and Landscape Architects, Studio39.

Green Hotelier recently spoke with Mike Hamilton, Consultant at Paladino and Company who was the sustainability manager for the project about how the property achieved this status - from design through to completion. Here's what he had to say...

How has the hotel became LEED gold accredited?

The hotel started the path to LEED Gold right from the beginning of the design process.  The hotel operator/developer, Donohoe,  hired a third party sustainability consultant, Paladino to coach the design and construction team through the LEED process.  First, sustainability goals were set and then sustainable elements were incorporated into the design.  During construction, the team worked together to verify that the sustainable materials and systems were being incorporated into the project.  Finally, Paladino commissioned the project in order to ensure the advanced mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were operating as the engineers intended.  The hotel is not yet LEED Gold certified, but it is under review by the certification authority and has met the requirements necessary to meet LEED Gold. Some highlights are:

  • The efficient plumbing fixtures installed will yield a 20% reduction in water use
  • 20% of the building’s materials are made  of 100% recycled content
  • 30% of the building was built from regional materials including the gypsum drywall, steel and concrete
  • The building achieves a 44% reduction in energy consumption when compared to a new code-compliant building
  • The buildings materials and finishes, including carpets, paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants, are all low emitting to contribute to healthy indoor air

What was the hotel's strategy behind this? Were there certain areas they focused their attention on when it came to being energy efficient?

While energy efficiency comprises only 20% of the overall points required for a LEED Gold certification, it receives a lot of attention because it has such a dramatic impact on the operational cost of the building. Donohoe  understood that pennies saved during construction would be been pounds lost during operation and committed  significant time and effort in choosing the most efficient combination of building envelope, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems.  The project team used an integrated approach to energy efficiency, meaning that no one area such as lighting received a substantially larger investment than any other area.  Instead, a "smart" approach was used and a computer model of the building was generated to simulate energy systems on an hour by hour basis over the course of a year. The model also simulates the impact of guests and staff, such as how much hot water they may use and when, or, when the gym might be heavily used or vacant. This allowed engineers to determine the best combination of lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other systems in order to maximize the effectiveness of the budget allotted for MEP systems and achieve a higher level of efficiency.

What are the most innovative sustainable features on the hotel?

  • The hotel has keycard readers and vacancy sensors that are tied to several outlets and the lighting in the hotel room.  When a guest leaves the room, everything on those circuits switches off such as the TV and nightstand lighting. When the guest opens the room with the keycard, everything that they had running comes back on.  This allows the hotel to save energy and money without interfering with the guest experience.
  • The hotel implemented a comprehensive green cleaning program and even uses a small cleaning solution “factory”, the Viking Pure 1000 system, to create on-site cleaning products. This machine produces non-toxic sanitizing and cleaning agents using only electricity, municipal tap water and highly purified table salt and is the primary sanitizing and cleaning system for the hotel.  It will be used for multiple cleaning surfaces, virtually eliminating the need for conventional cleaning and sanitizing products.  This allows the hotel to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals entering the water disposal system, reduce the toxic chemical exposure of hotel employees, guests, and janitorial staff and save money on cleaning solutions.
  • A feature that may not be considered innovative, but is often overlooked in hotels, is an automatic switch that shuts off the HVAC system when windows or balcony doors are opened to avoid heat or cool the outside.

What plans does the hotel have to maintain its sustainable credentials?

LEED v2.2 does not require ongoing recertification in order for a project to maintain its sustainable credentials.  However, there are rating systems such as LEED for Existing Buildings that can be pursued by the project should the developer want to achieve a higher level of certification or obtain a certification under a newer rating system.

Are the staff bought into the green aspects of the hotel? If so, how has this been achieved?

The staff has been engaged to participate with and contribute to the sustainable aspects in a number of ways. Employees are encouraged to use alternate modes of transportation. They are provided with bike storage areas and changing rooms to make cycling to work an easy choice; in addition, the project is located within easy access to public transportation.  Staff workstations and meeting rooms include individual thermal comfort and lighting controls, which has been shown to increase productivity and workplace satisfaction. Staff was provided training on the green cleaning program and use of the on-site cleaning solution machine if applicable.  In addition, the staff enjoys the same superior indoor air quality that the guests enjoy.

For more information go to Residence Inn Arlington Ballston and for more information about LEED certification see US Green Building Council LEED info

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