How to Select A LEED-Certified Hotel

The influence of greener building practices is a widespread initiative among architects, contractors, and suppliers. Integrating eco-friendly building techniques into the home can be a little expensive but because it increases savings in expenses down the road is a realistic choice for home builders and owners to make.

When owners of commercial buildings and public properties choose to go green, there is no doubt they are taking on a costly project but it’s worth it to achieve green building goals. For eco-savvy travelers, it’s nice to have accommodation options that take the environment into consideration.

By following the guidelines and criteria set forth by the USGBC, hoteliers are able to build green hotels to high standards and also enhance the traveler’s experience. A new Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott-Inner Harbor that is set to open in Baltimore in spring 2009 will be Baltimore’s first LEED-certified hotel and the features that have been integrated into its design promote environmentally friendly building practices as well as green and healthy lifestyles. Owners and builders of the new hotel took its location into consideration and ensured that it will have good access to public transportation as well as bicycle storage and changing rooms so that employees and guests are able to reduce their carbon footprint. The hotel is in the historic Jonestown District, on Baltimore’s Heritage Walk, and on the site of the former Baltimore Brewing Company at Brewer’s Park. Builders will be reusing materials from the original brewery such as beer storage tanks that will be used to collect rainwater; hardware; bricks; and the original Baltimore Brewery sign, which meets the goals to be both environment-conscious as well as supportive of local history.

Many of the green building practices that the new hotel will represent are standard among other LEED-certified buildings and should set the traveler’s mind at ease. For the Baltimore hotel in particular, no deforestation is required to build it as it’s all part of an urban redevelopment plan and because of the urban location, construction will be done in such a way to minimize environmental impact, pollution, and waste.

LEED designs integrate storm water management, light pollution reduction, enhanced fresh air intake and use of natural light, the use of recycled construction materials, and sustainable refrigerants to operate more efficient HVAC systems. Simple things like making recycling storage containers available for guests will make traveling routines similar to those at home by allowing people to continue their green lifestyles on the go.

Though the new Baltimore hotel is a $23 million project, Bill Marriott announced at the groundbreaking ceremony that the Marriott group is on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons, a goal that was set in 2000.

If you’re used to your green habits at home, seek out a LEED-certified hotel when you travel; it’s guaranteed they share your same awareness for the environment. At least you know where to find one in Baltimore.

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