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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:
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?
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.