31 July 2008

Making accommodations

The planet-friendly chain of "Gaia Hotels," is expanding. The first was built in California's Napa Valley. The second opened last year in Anderson, Calif. And a third is under construction in Merced, Calif. According to a company press release, developer Wen Chang plans to create the first chain of all-green hotels in the United States -- with each one certified at the LEED Gold level. Per the release, the hotels' green features cover a wide range of areas:
  • Wood Based Materials. All lumber used for the hotel is FSC certified.
  • Coatings, Adhesives and Sealants. Low VOC paint, sealants and adhesives were used throughout the hotel.
  • Carpet. The carpets contain post-consumer recycled material in the backing, fiber and pad.
  • Water. All toilets produce 1 gallon per flush. Guestrooms are equipped with low-flow showerheads. The Koi pond uses recycled water from the site, which is then filtered and cleaned prior to entering the pond.
  • Environmental Quality. Appropriately sized and efficient HVAC units are used throughout. These units are quieter and more efficient than standard HVAC systems and use a more environmentally friendly refrigerant than is standard. Aluminum exterior grates were used in all entrances of the property to minimize dust and particulates entering the building, improving air quality.
  • Energy. All windows are efficient, low energy transmittable and reduce glare. Solatube tubular skylights are used throughout the hotel including conference rooms, lobby, and hallways. Solar panels provide 10 percent of the site's electricity. A cool reflective roof reflects heat.
  • Recycling. Recycling bins in rooms and around property. Newspapers are located in the lobby, not delivered to each room. Bulk soap and shower dispensers cut packaging waste. Only recycled paper products are used.
  • Landscaping. All of the fertilizers used for landscaping are all natural and chemical free. Native and climate-adaptive plants were planted, so less water is used for irrigating.
  • Cleaning. Environmentally friendly cleaning products are used to clean the property.

UPDATE 1 Aug 08: For more LEED-certified hotel news, check out this.

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