The US Green Building Council (USGBC) for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED (R)) recently recongnized two Courtyard by Marriott hotels with the LEED stamp of approval.  Though these aren’t the first LEED (R) certified hotels, Starwood has a hip, eco-friendly Element chain, this is a huge milestone for the Marriott brand, which hopes to get the “green” stamp of approval for prototypes of the Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Springhill Suites, Residence Inn and Towneplace Suites chains.  In fact, Marriott has about 50 hotels in the pipeline that have or will pursue LEED (R) certification, with 15 of them slated to open in late 2009 or early 2010.

Not only will the Courtyard hotels recoup the upfront costs of making their hotels LEED (R) certified in 12-24 months (through energy conservation), but according to the US Travel Association, environmentally conscious hotels have a competitive edge with consumers.  The two eco-friendly Courtyard by Marriott hotels are located in Portland, Oregon and Chevy Chase, MD.  The 256-room Courtyard in Portland draws its electricity from renewable sources such as wind and hydroelectric power, reducing energy consumption by 30%.  The hotel will also reduce water consumption by 26% (as compared to a non-LEED Courtyard) by installing dual-flushing toilets.  It also recycled more than 75% of waste created during construction and will reduce its carbon emissions by 25%.

The Chevy Chase Courtyard is even more incredible, to read about this Courtyard’s eco-conscious features, go to: http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS95350+22-Sep-2009+PRN20090922

In addition to eco-friendly hotels, more and more parking garages are becoming green-minded.  With public transportation becoming a growing way to get around, more parking garages are going up in order to accommodate the mass transit community.  Designing a green garage is primarily about layout, by easing accessibility and minimizing the waiting time for people to leave the garage.  Technology is going to be the biggest key in these garages, as pay-on-foot kiosks will become increasing popular as will signs that alert drivers to vacant spots so that it cuts down on people needing to circle.  Some garages are even looking into systems that allow people to pay for their parking via their cell phones.  For more information about the current and future green parking lots, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2009-10-12-parking_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

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