First LEED-certified Hotel in Tennessee Boasts ‘Green’ Laundry that Saves $12K Annually
As the first LEED-certified hotel in Tennessee, the Hilton Garden Inn, in Gatlinburg, required careful planning and collaboration by its executive staff, contractor, supporting vendors and LEED-accredited architect. In the end, the 118-room hotel came together as a well- integrated “green” facility. Every system was examined in order to heighten hotel sustainability, even the in-house laundry, which comes complete with an ozone system, soft-mount, high-speed washer- extractors and high-efficiency dryers. In five years, the laundry alone is expected to save the hotel $60,196.
Hotel Operational Costs Less
General Manager Kris Reagan maintains the hotel’s building costs were around seven percent more than a non-LEED ho- tel, but operating expenses are consider- ably lower. “It won’t be long before those LEED additions pay for themselves,” she says. “The hotel is located in Smoky Mountain National Park. So, making this a LEED-certified property was the right thing to do,” she adds. “We’ve already blown away our pro-forma,” Reagan at- tests after only three months of operation.
Developing a ‘Green’ Laundry
Jeff Large of Laundry Systems of Tennessee worked closely with the Hilton Garden Inn to design the on-premise laundry. “The total cost of the laundry with the ozone system was $48,000,” he says. “The laundry will pay for itself in 48 months. Right now, everyone wants to save. With ozone and highly efficient laundry equipment, there is nothing but savings. There’s a better end result,” he maintains.
The LEED Standard
In the United States, LEED certification is a recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (US- GBC), offers four certification levels for new construction—Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each level corresponds to the number of credits accrued in five green design areas—sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. The Hilton Garden Inn received a Silver LEED certification.
In the long run, the Hilton Garden Inn will cost less to operate. “An upfront investment of two percent in green building design, on average, results in life cycle savings of 20 percent of the total
construction costs—more than 10 times the initial investment,” according to the USGBC Web site.
Of top concern during the hotel’s development was maintaining the consistency of the Hilton Garden Inn brand, according to Reagan. “We wanted the hotel to ‘feel’ the same to the customer,” she says. So, any changes made in pursuit of LEED certification needed to correspond with the company’s image.
“The landscape uses less water and pesticides; the pavers in the parking lot are porous to improve drainage; and the hotel features recycled wallpaper, granite counter tops and a chemical-free saltwater pool and hot tub, as well as in-room recycling,” says Reagan. The property also boasts low-flow showerheads and faucets, and the option of high- or low- flow toilet flushing, as well as a super efficient laundry that requires less water, natural gas, chemicals and electricity.
Equipping the Laundry
The laundry is outfitted with two Continental 55-pound capacity soft-mount washer-extractors, each with a TNozone system, and three Continental 75-pound capacity high-efficiency drying tumblers.