Go Greener: 4 LEED Platinum Hotels to Consider for Your Next Event

May 9, 2024

For corporate event groups wishing to conduct their meetings in the most environmentally responsible way possible, sustainable hotels are a no-brainer venue option. Dedicated to reducing their environmental impact and carbon footprint, green hotels are properties that promote sustainability and work to protect the environment via sustainable practices, such as improving energy efficiency, mitigating carbon emissions and solid waste, and improving the well-being of their guests and staff through various corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

As the demand for green venues increases, more and more hotels are pursuing environmentally conscious certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), one of most globally recognized green building rating systems designed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). To achieve a LEED rating, hotels must prove their property’s construction, design and daily operations meet stringent LEED standards through third-party verification.

LEED hotels

Of the four levels of LEED certification (Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum) for new or existing buildings, Platinum is considered a pinnacle achievement. While all LEED certification levels demonstrate a building’s strong commitment to sustainability, a Platinum rating signifies a building is a leader in environmental stewardship, energy and water efficiency, sustainable building materials, indoor environmental quality, design innovation, site sustainability, transportation, community impact and operational practices. To date, only a handful of venues worldwide have achieved this coveted rating.

To take your green meetings to the next level, here are four U.S.-based LEED Platinum-certified hotels worth considering for your next gathering.

Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, NC

Proximity Hotel

As the first hotel to achieve LEED Platinum in the U.S., this boutique, employee-owned property has been rated as the greenest hotel in North America and offers modern features, including relaxing spaces, comfortable rooms and custom-designed furniture and art. Named and modeled after Proximity Mill, a cotton and sawmill that existed in the 1800s, it serves as a popular event destination for environmentally focused organizations.

When built:

2007

 

When LEED certified:

October 2008

Hotel offerings & amenities:

  • 147 guestrooms, including 10 suites
  • Print Works Bistro, an adjacent, full-service restaurant that also provides room service for overnight guests. 
  • An outdoor pool and 24/7 indoor fitness studio
  • Bikes and helmets for guests

Proximity Hotel

Sustainable features and hotel practices:

More than 70 sustainable practices, including:  

  • The use of efficient materials and latest construction technology, resulting in the building using almost 40% less energy than a conventional hotel
  • 100 solar panels covering the hotel’s 4,000-square-foot roof
  • Use of geothermal energy for the restaurant’s refrigeration equipment
  • North America’s first Regenerative Drive model of the Otis Gen2 elevator, which reduces net energy usage by capturing the system’s energy and feeding it back into the hotel’s internal electrical grid
  • Abundant natural lighting
  • Use of building materials with recycled content
  • Installation of high-efficiency Kohler plumbing fixtures that have reduced water usage by 33%

Number of meeting spaces and square footage:

4 event rooms totaling 7,300 square feet of event space

Proximity Hotel

Sustainable practices/offerings for meetings & events: 

  • Reduced energy and water use
  • Waste reduction, reuse and recycling program
  • Purchases food, beverages, supplies and equipment made using credibly sustainable practices, whenever possible
  • Healthy indoor environments
  • Sources food from local farmers, food makers and vendors, whenever possible
  • Locally sourced custom-designed furnishings
  • Abundant natural light in meeting spaces
  • Windows in meeting spaces that open for fresh air

What sustainability and LEED Platinum certification means to the hotel:

“[Our] sustainable practices initiative considers how our decisions affect current and future generations, while ensuring our current guest’s stay is enhanced, not detracted by the choices we make,” said Tony Villier, managing director of hotel and events sales, Proximity Hotel and O.Henry Hotel. “We found the USGBC LEED program a great place to help ask a lot of good questions about sustainability. We were sincere about our intention to build the building in the most sustainable way possible without negatively impacting the guest and making the right choices as it related to being fiscally responsible, as well.”

The Westin Denver International Airport, Denver, Colo.

Westin DIA

As the only hotel connected to Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal, this contemporary Marriott International property features modern décor and the latest technological amenities. Linked to a commuter rail line, it is located within easy access to downtown Denver, as well as Stapleton and popular ski areas of the Rockies.

When built:

2015

When LEED certified:

2016

Hotel offerings & amenities:

  • 485 guest rooms and 34 guest suites
  • Three F&B outlets: the contemporary, farm-to-table Grill and Vine Restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; the 6th-level Sky Lounge offering custom crafted beverages and small plates; and Ingredients coffee shop offering quick snacks, beverages and sundries.
  • WORKOUT Fitness Studio and indoor heated pool
  • Wall-to-wall windows and natural light
  • Original artwork by Colorado artists displayed throughout the property

Westin DIA

Sustainable hotel practices: 

  • Recycling of cardboard, plastic, all metals, batteries, lightbulbs, technology equipment and used cooking oil
  • High-efficiency lighting in guest rooms and public areas
  • Guest motion and occupancy sensors
  • Water conserving fixtures
  • Organic waste composting
  • Sustainable food and beverage options
  • Green housekeeping
  • Alternatives to plastic water bottles
  • Environmentally preferred suppliers and products

Number of meeting spaces and square footage:

37,500 square feet with 16 meetings rooms and 2 ballrooms

Westin DIA

Sustainable practices/offerings for meetings & events:

Guest meetings fall under The Westin’s Green and Clutter Free Marriott International sustainability guidelines, which offer social conscious amenities for groups, including:

  • Water filling stations vs. bottled water
  • Linen-less tables
  • Recycling
  • 100% recycled notepads and pens
  • Energy efficient fluorescent lighting
  • Reduction of paper products
  • Motion sensors in meeting rooms 
  • Recyclable box lunch program

What sustainability and LEED Platinum certification means to the hotel:

“Sustainability is a key priority for Marriott International, as well as the Westin brand,” said Laura Lojas, The Westin Denver International Airport’s general manager. “Serving our community is a company pillar and we’re proud to be good stewards of the world. It’s a privilege working for a company that understands the importance of sustainability with a continued focus on reducing the carbon footprint of all Marriott International properties.”

Hotel Marcel, New Haven, Conn.

Hotel Marcel

Built in a re-imagined landmark building that once housed the Armstrong Rubber Company and listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, this mid-century, Bauhaus-inspired property is 100% electric-powered and fossil fuel-free. It features custom-designed interiors, minimalist guest rooms and suites, restored or repurposed finishes and fixtures and curated, contemporary artwork.

When built:

Originally constructed in 1968; restored as Hotel Marcel in 2022

When LEED certified:

2022  

Hotel offerings/amenities:

  • 165 guest rooms and suites
  • Full-service restaurant and bar BLDG, where everything on the menu is made in-house in the 100% electric kitchen and sourced regionally within 250 miles
  • 24/7 fitness center
  • Complimentary parking and shuttle service within 5 miles

Hotel Marcel

Sustainable hotel practices: 

  • Electric heating + cooling, kitchen services, laundry and hotel shuttle
  • 12 EV charging stations
  • Elevator designed to generate power for the hotel when braking
  • 1,000+ solar panels that produce over 600,000 kwhs annually
  • Power-Over-Ethernet Lighting System that reduces lighting energy use by over 60%.
  • Hotel has established its own microgrid – a grid-forming inverter located in each of the hotel’s Lithium battery rooms that allows for off-the-grid operation and emergency power. This enables the building to be powered by the grid, solar energy and/or batteries, and when creating more energy than it needs, the hotel contributes electricity back to the local utility.  
  • Guest rooms outfitted with a touch panel and bedside remote control to adjust temperature and lighting with motorized sheer and black-out window shades
  • To reduce waste, guests have the option to receive Mobile Key entry with the Hilton Honors phone app; those who prefer a tangible key can opt for recycled wood room cards
  • No single use plastics at all guest touch points, such as the in-room coffee program that offers fully compostable bags and packaging
  • In-house laundry uses an ozone system that reduces the amount of hot water and chemicals required
  • Property partakes in a battery recycling program for all TV remotes and other batteries 

Number of meeting spaces and square footage:

More than 9,000 square feet of flexible meetings and events spaces on the first and ninth floors, including eight meeting rooms for up to 275 guests

Hotel Marcel

Sustainable practices/offerings for meetings & events: 

Hotel Marcel’s sustainability practices permeate throughout its meetings and events spaces. Highlights include:

  • Each space is powered by the hotel’s own microgrid
  • Electric kitchen services used for catering
  • Electric heating + cooling throughout each of the spaces
  • An electric hotel shuttle to pick up guests from the nearby Amtrak Union Station

 

What sustainability and LEED Platinum certification means to the hotel:

“For Hotel Marcel, sustainability means decreasing the collective negative impact on the climate without having to sacrifice quality,” said Ben Webster, Hotel Marcel general manager. “Our property, which has entirely disrupted the hospitality industry, was created to inspire others and set a model showing it’s possible to offer a luxury hotel experience with no carbon emissions. When we earned our LEED Platinum certification, it was the final seal of approval that we’ve done this the right way.”

W San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.

W SF

As the first hotel in North America and the 11th in the world to receive LEED-EB (Existing Building) Platinum certification, this sleekly modern Marriott hotel is located just steps from downtown San Francisco’s popular sights, including Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and Oracle Park. Located in the heart of the city’s SoMA district and situated just steps from Moscone Center, the hotel offers a host of modern comforts, panoramic city views.

When built:

1999

When LEED certified:

2015

Hotel offerings/amenities:

  • 411 guest rooms and suites
  • TRACE Restaurant, serving local and sustainable farm-to-table fare for breakfast, lunch and brunch
  • Living Room Bar and lounge
  • In-room dining from 6-11 a.m. and 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
  • FIT fitness studio

W SF

Sustainable hotel practices: 

  • 90% of lighting is energy efficient
  • Upgraded HVAC chillers and cooling towers that save 300kwh/year
  • Water efficient showers, faucets and toilets in all guestrooms
  • Linen and towel reuse program
  • Motion sensors in all guestrooms power off HVAC/electricity in unoccupied rooms
  • Water filtration systems currently being installed in all guest room floors to eliminate single-use plastic bottles in guestrooms by July 2024
  • Waterless urinals in public WCs use eco-friendly systems, saving 300,000 gallons/year
  • Recycles and composts more than 73% of total waste
  • Paperless check-in/out; uses e-folios
  • Uses reusable laundry bags versus 150,000 plastic bags/year
  • Recycles clothes hangers, diverting more than 350,000 metal hangers from landfills

W SF

  • 100% of used linens, towels, partially used guest room amenity containers, miscellaneous supplies, furniture and equipment donated to local non-profit organizations
  • Hybrid transportation to the airport available
  • Complimentary use of sports bikes for guests to encourage carbon-free bicycle sightseeing
  • Use of eco-friendly and chemical-free cleaning products and paints
  • Filtration HVAC system reduces indoor air pollutants
  • 100% organic coffee
  • Up to 60% of produce and food products are organic or sourced locally
  • Restaurant menus incorporate honey from rooftop bee hives (soon to be a bookable harvest experience for guests) and use herbs from the chef’s garden on the property’s Social Terrace patio

Number of meeting spaces and square footage:

23,403 square feet of flexible event space with 17 meeting rooms and special event spaces, and 9 breakout spaces

W SF

Sustainable practices/offerings for meetings & events:

  • Carbon-neutral, zero-waste meetings and events
  • Energy efficient digital signage
  • Local and organic food and beverage
  • Linenless meeting and banquet tables
  • Pick Your Perks spring 2024 meeting and events promotion highlighting sustainable practices

What sustainability and LEED Platinum certification means to the hotel: 

“You can indulge without checking your conscience at the door,” said Jeff Ossenkop, W San Francisco general manager. “All of our eco-friendly efforts take place behind the scenes. While maintaining a leadership role in the green hotel movement in San Francisco, we blend our ‘Whatever/Whenever’ service promise to provide luxurious lifestyle experiences for our guests while staying green and glamorous.”

Have some sustainable meetings hotel and venue news to share? Reach out to lisa.savas@informa.com.

 

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