What Goes Around Comes Around
September 18, 2008
While wandering recently in New England I was pleased to visit what could have been the predecessor to LEED certified hotels on the campus at the University of New Hampshire. UNH was recently named one of the 11 Greenest Campuses by Princeton Review.
“In the heart of the University of New Hampshire campus in Durham, the New England Center is an architectural icon. Architect William Pereira, who graced the cover of TIME magazine in 1963, was so moved by the site’s 10-acre setting of towering pines and woodland he was inspired to create an extraordinary hotel that reflected the area’s natural beauty. Here, structural steel, green glazed bricks, and glass blend with nature to form a hexagonal-shaped architectural masterpiece.”
I remarked (thinking I was unique) to the Guest Service Representative the morning I departed that it felt like I was staying in a tree house. He said “we hear that a lot.”
If Mr. Pereira were creating hotels today he wouldn’t have far to travel to see a leading edge property in Lexington, Massachusetts. He might wonder why it took us 45 years to figure it out? The Element Hotel by Starwood is in a word “eco-comfortable.”
The extended stay property which expects to earn at least LEED Silver certification appears to be as comfortable as it is green. More than casual thought went into every aspect of this hotel concept. The location next to Minute Man National Historic Park is an additional bonus for Nature Walks, Bike rides, etc. If the number of tours (several daily) is any indication this brand will be a big hit for Starwood with guests, franchisees, and our planet.
If you are interested in knowing where all of this may be headed I would strongly encourage you to read an excellent article by Jim Butler entitled,The Compelling “Hard Case” For “Green” Hotel Development. Jim would be the first to admit that he is a “Johnny come lately to the Green Dance” and that is why his article is so compelling. He approaches the subject pragmatically.
If you have thoughts you would like to share with me in person please look me up next week (September 23 – 26) at The Lodging Conference in Phoenix.