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Starwood Hotels' ELEMENT Brand to Mandate LEED Certification in All Hotels Brand-Wide (United States)

Starwood Hotels' ELEMENT Brand to Mandate LEED Certification in All Hotels Brand-Wide (United States)

Category: North America & West Indies / Carribean islands - United States - Industry economy - Hotel projects Trends / Expert's advice
This is a press release selected by our editorial committee and published online for free on 2008-04-22

From Energy-Efficient Appliances and Environmentally-Friendly Lighting to Magnetic "Do Not Disturb" Signs, ELEMENT Creates All New Green Hotels

Great for the Earth and Great for Guests, ELEMENT to Offer

Healthier, Cleaner Environments and a No-Compromise Eco-Chic Guest Experience

In an industry first, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) today announced that its newest brand, ELEMENT hotels, will require all hotels brand-wide to pursue the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED certification. With its first hotel debuting this summer and more than 20 hotels set to open by the end of 2009, ELEMENT will make history as the first major hotel brand to commit to LEED certification.

ELEMENT Paves a Green Path for Developers - 20 hotels by 2009

Designed for longer stays, and consisting entirely of new-build hotels, ELEMENT is uniquely positioned in the industry to spur widespread green development. ELEMENT designated its first hotel, Starwood-owned ELEMENT Lexington, MA scheduled to open in July 2008, as a working laboratory to test the latest in green construction, products, design and operations. Using these learnings, the ELEMENT brand has created a road map for developers which streamlines certification pursuits and provides a pathway to cost-effective green building. Starwood's research indicates that LEED certification is achievable at a minimal cost premium. In addition, ELEMENT's research shows that the initial investment can be recouped within a few years, given associated operational savings.

ELEMENT is committed to bringing more green building to our communities, including more than 20 planned ELEMENT hotels which will pursue LEED certification in markets including New York, Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas.

"Leading the way in hotel innovations is part of Starwood's DNA and fundamental to our success," said Frits van Paasschen, Starwood's Chief Executive Officer. "With the launch of ELEMENT, we're creating a new way to build hotels and guest experiences through the lens of environmental responsibility. By testing and refining ELEMENT in our own laboratory, we are developing an economically responsible LEED-certified hotel concept that is accessible to developers and designed to be replicated, promising a more sustainable future."

Great for the Earth, Great for Guests

ELEMENT's key green features are cleverly designed to be as appealing aesthetically as they are eco-friendly, so travelers never compromise on style and comfort. They include energy efficient stainless steel appliances and lighting, water-efficient faucets and fixtures and bins for paper, plastic and glass which make recycling easy. Filtered water in guest rooms and amenity dispensers in the showers reduce plastic bottle waste. In addition, ELEMENT hotels use low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints and carpets with up to 100% recycled content and anti-microbial carpet pads which improve indoor air quality for guests and staff. Guests driving hybrid cars are rewarded with priority parking. Even the ubiquitous "Do Not Disturb" sign gets a green makeover, replacing the traditional paper tag with the environmentally-friendly magnet.

Each ELEMENT hotel is infused with natural light, featuring a 16-foot window wall in the lobby and oversized windows in each guest room providing sightlines to the outdoors. Biophilic design--literally meaning the love of living systems--is the art of bringing the outside world in and natural colors and patterns are reflected in the ELEMENT rooms and public space design and furnishings.

"ELEMENT's efforts around green are great for the Earth and great for our guests," said Brian McGuinness, ELEMENT hotels' Global Brand Leader. "From improving the quality of the air, to minimizing pollutants and toxic chemicals, to providing ample access to natural light, ELEMENT provides a cleaner, healthier environment and a sense of well being, all designed to help our guests thrive on the road."

No-Compromise, Eco-Chic Guest Experience

Committed to providing a no-compromise, eco-chic experience, ELEMENT makes it easy to be environmentally responsible without having to sacrifice a great guest experience. Travel indulgences at ELEMENT include Westin's Heavenly bed, spa-like bathrooms with oversize showers and rain showerheads which are water efficient, a state-of-the-art fitness center, fresh and healthy complimentary breakfast and organic pantry options, plus the latest in technology and neat extras like complimentary bikes for guests and staff and local area information on the TV's.

Just as W Hotels served as an incubator for Starwood's innovation in hotel style and design and Westin Hotels and Resorts forged a new path in hotel bedding when it launched the Heavenly Bed, ELEMENT is poised to serve as Starwood's green trailblazer, with the intent of migrating key learnings to its sister brands including Westin, Sheraton and W Hotels.

Launched to the development community in 2006, ELEMENT hotels are inspired by the design and positioning of Westin Hotels and Resorts and will promote balance through smart and sustainable design.

"Today's consumers - including guests who stay with us, corporate customers who select hotel providers and the development community who build our hotels - are increasingly demanding green options when they select hotel brands," said Robin Korman, Vice President of Marketing for ELEMENT hotels. "As more cities require LEED certification, Starwood and ELEMENT will be ahead of the industry in terms of developing and operating green hotels."

"The portfolio program provides companies with the tools to integrate LEED into their standard practices," said Doug Gatlin, Vice President of Market Development for the U.S. Green Building Council. "Through Starwood's participation, they have contributed significantly to the development and refinement of this innovative program."

The first ELEMENT hotel opens in Lexington, MA (July 2008), followed by: ELEMENT Summerlin (Las Vegas, NV); ELEMENT Houston Vintage Park (Houston, TX), and ELEMENT Arundel Mills (Baltimore, MD).

USGBC's LEED Certification

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is an internationally recognized third party certification system for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. A LEED certified building is one which has demonstrated a whole-building approach to sustainability in five key areas of human heath and environmental impact: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy performance and climate protection, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

The benefits of green building and LEED certification include:

-- Lower operating costs and increased asset value

-- Healthy and comfortable interior environments, including clean
air, non-toxic material use, daylight, connection to the
outdoors and thermal comfort

-- Reduced waste sent to landfills

-- Efficient use of energy, water and other natural resources

-- Reduction of greenhouse gas and ozone depleting emissions

-- Improved regional air and water quality

-- Strong linkages to the community

USGBC Recognizes Starwood as a Leader in Hospitality and Green Building

Through ELEMENT's commitment to LEED, Starwood has joined USGBC as a Portfolio Program Partner. USGBC's Portfolio Program is a leadership program for owners, tenants and managers in the green building movement who seek to integrate green building into their standard business practices.

By aiming for LEED certification, ELEMENT hotels are benefitting the environment in many different ways. Through its implementation of LEED principles, ELEMENT hotels will:

Protect waterways and wildlife from pollution by:

-- Controlling soil erosion, sedimentation and air-born dust
generation during the construction process.

Save energy and reduce carbon emissions by:

-- Using a heating, ventilating and air conditioning system that
has been optimized for energy efficiency.

-- Selecting Energy Star Appliances where possible.

-- Using roofing materials that reflect heat from the sun and as
a result put less demand on hotel air conditioning systems.

-- Incorporating an environmentally-friendly lighting system with
CFL and LED technology

-- Integrating a comprehensive recycling program. In 2005,
recycling is estimated to have conserved enough energy to
power 9 million households.

Protect the ozone layer by:

-- Using CFC-free refrigerants in heating, ventilating and air
conditioning systems.

Support renewable energy technology by:

-- Purchasing wind power to offset 70% of electricity use for the
first two years of operation.

Save water by:

-- Installing custom water-fixture technologies. Improving water
efficiency within hotels additionally reduces the burden on
municipal water supplies and wastewater systems.

-- ELEMENT Lexington will save approximately 942,000 gallons of
potable water per year.

Reduce the amount of waste hauled to and disposed of in landfills

-- Incorporating a comprehensive recycling program, including an
in-room program.

Create a place where hotel guests and staff can thrive by:

-- Using carpeting, paints, and adhesives that minimize air-born

-- Providing ample access to daylight and views to the outdoors
that promote a sense of well-being.

-- Providing adjustable thermostats and lighting controls for
guests and staff to adjust room conditions to best suit their

-- Ensuring good air quality by prohibiting smoking in and around
the building.

-- By using eco-friendly cleaning products and practices that are
safer for humans while being kinder to the environment.

Help guests reduce carbon emissions and air pollutants by:

-- Designating preferred parking spaces for hybrid and carpooling

-- Providing guests and staff access to bicycles and bicycle

Promote sustainability and facilitate meaningful change by:

-- Educating guests and staff on sustainable practices
implemented in ELEMENT hotels

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