Making “Green” History, W San Francisco Becomes First Hotel Belonging to Major Brand to Earn Silver LEED Certification for an Existing Building

  • Starwood Hotels
  • 04.06.10

Crowning an industry-leading, employee-driven green program, the four-diamond W San Francisco made history this week by earning the first LEED certification of an existing building belonging to a major hotel brand.

With its Silver LEED certification, W San Francisco becomes only the seventh hotel in the United States to receive the recognition for an existing building. Stringent criteria for an existing building certification measure “operations, improvements and maintenance on a consistent scale, with the goal of maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers LEED.
“For our guests, the green experience at W San Francisco is a seamless part of their overall W experience, which is extremely gratifying for us,” said Michael Pace, W San Francisco’s General Manager, and a sought-after speaker on green business practices. “W San Francisco is a leader in the area of sustainability and green practices for W Hotels Worldwide. Green has become part of modern living and is expected by our guests, who can feel our team’s true passion for green practices, which are infused in everything we do, everyday.”

Certified by the state of California as a green business, W San Francisco began its green program in 2007 with the passion of employees helping launch it. W San Francisco also won a 2008 “Good Earthkeeping” award, recognizing environmental leadership, from the California Hotel & Lodging Association.

Among the energy efficiency steps taken at W San Francisco without negatively impacting the sensory experience and atmosphere of the hotel: More than 70 percent of guestroom lighting and 90 percent of back-of-house lighting is energy efficient, using CFLs, LEDs, motion sensors, and other technologies; the hotel’s HVAC cooling towers were replaced with energy-efficient models, saving 300 kWh/year; motion sensors power off HVAC in unoccupied guestrooms; and ENERGY STAR power management features are activated on all PCs. Management continues to track energy usage and savings with a third-party vendor through the hotel's utility company, PG&E. Lastly, to further improve energy efficiency and encourage the use of renewable energy, management is considering installing wind turbines on the hotel's roof--a first for a commercial building in the city.

W San Francisco added a green component to the W signature meeting experience, “Sensory Meetings,” where all food and beverage is organic, biodynamic, and local. The hotel also hosts “zero-waste,” carbon-neutral events through a partnership with “Live Neutral” carbon offsets.

W San Francisco’s LEED certification means another milestone for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), the hotel’s parent company, adding to their portfolio of four new construction (LEED-NC) properties to obtain the coveted designation. Worldwide, Starwood has a total of 67 hotels that are either LEED certified or registered for or pursuing LEED certification.

Element, Starwood’s new “green from the ground up” brand, made its own history by becoming first major hotel brand to mandate that all properties pursue LEED certification.
LEED is an internationally recognized, third-party certification for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The LEED rating system is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being. LEED’s rating system offers four certification levels for new construction -- Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum -- that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories.
The LEED for Existing Buildings Rating System helps building owners and operators measure operations, improvements and maintenance on a consistent scale, with the goal of maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts. LEED for Existing Buildings addresses whole-building cleaning and maintenance issues (including chemical use), recycling programs, exterior maintenance programs, and systems upgrades. It can be applied both to existing buildings seeking LEED certification for the first time and to projects previously certified under LEED for New Construction, Schools, or Core & Shell.

About W San Francisco
Located in the heart of the SoMA district, W San Francisco is the ultimate urban oasis with panoramic views of the city’s skyline and a breathtaking view of the Bay Bridge. W San Francisco’s contemporary style is mixed with Asian influences and whimsical touches such as Chinese checker boards and framed origami butterflies made from old San Francisco trolley tickets, symbolizing the hybrid of an iconic American city and its marriage with Asian culture. With over seven state-of-the-art meeting room and banquet spaces, we can conform to your every need. The Living Room and meeting rooms include stylish metro sleeping pods and a glowing fireplace which is a perfect gathering spot for cocktails or an energetic place to work. Premiere attractions include San Francisco’s hottest bar and restaurant, XYZ which draws a fashionable, cool crowd every night. Centrally located and minutes from Union Square, W San Francisco is in a prime location offering walking distance to key interest points such as Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Gardens, and the Waterfront. A favorite venue for film screenings, fashion gatherings and music events, W San Francisco has firmly established itself as the most hip, stylish and forward-thinking lifestyle hotel in the city.

About Starwood
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1000 properties in nearly 100 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.

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