Advocating for a “whole-systems” approach to design and operations

 
four laws of ecology

The Four Laws Of Ecology

(1) Everything is connected to everything else

(2) Everything must go somewhere

(3) Nature knows best

(4) There is no such thing as a free lunch

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Green Building

Green Building guides and educates hospitality owners to improve building design and construction, and advocates for intelligent policies and city codes to benefit the world around us.

The Engineering Team provides guidance during the development phase of high-performance sustainable buildings, and once in operation, promotes cost-effective, energy-efficient strategies and innovative solutions to support owners, developers, architects, and contractors reach sustainability goals.

 

Certification

LEED is the most recognized third-party green building certification program in the world.

WELL is a newer building standard that harnesses the built environment as a vehicle to support human health, wellbeing, and comfort.

The Living Building Challenge is the world’s most stringent sustainable building certification.

(link to more info on certifications)

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Design & Architecture

It's all in the details.

 

Energy Star

Several programs are available to benchmark and improve existing building performance. An energy audit assesses existing conditions and identifies opportunities for energy efficiency improvements. Energy Star benchmarks energy consumption data against other similar building types, with higher-performing facilities eligible for the Energy Star label.

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Energy Modeling

Energy modeling uses software simulation to estimate a building’s energy consumption. As a design tool, energy modeling can guide project teams in prioritizing investment in equipment and strategies that truly enhance building energy performance. Energy modeling informs stakeholders about the predicted operational costs and energy cost savings of a project, which can help optimize building design.

 

Commissioning

Commissioning is a third-party verification process that ensures that a building’s energy-consuming systems are installed, calibrated, and operating as intended by the Owner’s Project Requirements. We perform commissioning in accordance with LEED and California’s Title 24 requirements.

 

Renewable Energy

We encourage and recognize increasing levels of on-site renewable energy self-supply to reduce environmental and economic impacts associated with fossil fuel energy use. On-site renewable energy systems offsets building energy costs. 

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Water Management

Water scarcity is a global problem, with demand for water projected to exceed supply by 40% by 2030. By the same year, half the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress.

Most water (97%) is in the oceans, which cover 71% of the Earth’s surface. 3% is freshwater, two-thirds of which is tied up as ice in glaciers and at the poles. This leaves approximately 1% as freshwater in rivers, lakes, the atmosphere and in groundwater.

That 1% is under threat, with population growth, negligent consumption habits and resource-intensive farming. Climate change is adding to the problem. While a number of areas are experiencing periods of prolonged drought, the rain that falls in some other areas is heavier. This leads to flooding without sufficiently replenishing groundwater stocks.

Hotel companies have both a strong commercial and moral imperative for addressing water use. Cost is a clear factor: water accounts for 10% of utility bills in many hotels. Most hotels pay for the water they consume twice – first by purchasing fresh water and then by disposing of it as waste water.

Conservation isn’t a luxury. We all live off the same shared resources. As populations grow, innovation and life speeds up. Our consumption habits have increased to keep up, putting pressure on our supply (Earth) which data shows, is unable to continue to meet demand.

Less resources = scarcity = rising prices for all.

It’s to our benefit to cut back while directing money into systems that replenish survival resources, not take them away or poison them.

We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves, take small and big actions, and pass these lessons on.

 

Food Waste Solution: Composting

Nobody likes to waste food, and neither do restaurant guests.

Through research of marketing campaigns and interviewing hospitality managers, we’ve learned that people are generally uninformed about the reasons to compost, or challenged with the process.

We understand that finding ways to fit more bins, more staff time and more expense into daily routines can be a struggle.

Our Composting Program addresses these questions and challenges, making it easy to commit to a higher standard of practice.

The priority is to reduce how much food is wasted on the property, before considering how best to dispose of unavoidable waste.

Did you know these organic items could be composted instead of trashed? —food scraps, egg cartons, cardboard boxes, leaves, garden trimmings, and many reliable biodegradable packaging products that have recently emerged— are usually not correctly disposed.

composting nytimes
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Why bother?

Think of composting as recycling. These organic items go back into the local ecosystem, feeding the soil which grows tastier, more nutritious food.

Waste diversion tips

  1. Reuse it (don’t buy)

  2. When finished, compost it

  3. If it can’t be composted, recycle it

  4. Worst case scenario, trash it. Know that trash in landfills cannot breakdown due to lack of oxygen, therefore ‘biodegradable packaging’ when sent to a landfill via the trash, still releases greenhouse gases as bad or worst than traditional plastic.

 
source: University of Texas Edible Garden, The Daily Texan

source: University of Texas Edible Garden, The Daily Texan

 

Urban Garden and farm Design

Adding an on-site garden to hotel properties has many benefits: access to fresh, locally-grown food, turning organics and wastewater into productive resources, and improving the safety and well-being of the community.

Our Urban Garden Designers develop custom edible foodscapes and teach best practices for running a successful urban farm.

 
 

Books and Videos

For learning to reorder priorities and restructure industrial growth