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TownePlace Suites Debuts 1st LEED Prototype

The Denver airport property is the first in the brand to open with LEED standards built right into the construction prototype. It’s also symbolic of Marriott’s move to be more environmentally friendly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
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TownePlace Suites is looking to take the LEED. That is, to be the most environmentally friendly hotel brand it can possibly be. The brand took a major step to that goal today with the opening of the TownePlace Suites Denver Airport at Gateway Park, which is owned by Arapahoe development and is opening with a LEED Silver ranking.

Executives at the midscale extended stay brand are taking this approach as they sense consumers are looking for a more responsible hotel brand and will stay at one when possible. Plus LEED buildings are less expensive to operate, making them both a smart choice for marketing angles as well as when it comes time to sell. Marriott International is also focusing on ‘going green’ as a core tenant at the corporate level for all its brands.

“The design of the building and the LEED sign is a welcoming site for travelers, especially coming out of the Denver airport. Our goal is to be really connected to the neighborhood and getting to know area is important to the extended stay guest,” said Loren Nalewanski , VP, TownePlace Suites, who is the top executive running the brand.

The hotel is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification, complimenting a Silver property already opened in Frederick, MD. Properties in Anchorage, AK and Buffalo, NY are currently under development with a Silver LEED goal.

According to Nalewanski, Marriott International can provide developers with LEED construction prototype plans that make achieving a LEED certified hotel a snap. It’ll also save developers up to $100,000 since Marriott has done a lot of this work already for the developer. LEED of course is a program spearheaded by the U.S. Green Building Council to help make buildings more efficient to run and tax the environment less than traditional structures. The USGBC has preapproved plans utilized to build Marriott branded hotels like TownePlace Suites. The Denver property is the first TownePlace Suites to open utilizing this LEED prototype program.

Jefferson Thomas, Senior Manager, Architecture & Design with Marriott International and LEED advocate said following the plans will also cut development time by as much as five months. “This is a cost effective route to LEED certification that takes out guesswork. It was developed because most owners when they saw LEED it scared them because of the cost, uncertainty and risk. This takes out guesswork because developers are working with pre certified prototypes, owners just need to follow the prototype,” said Thomas who added that Marriott’s LEED program also gives hotel owners assistance as needed.

Currently all five of Marriott’s select service brands are part of this program, which is optional to developers. Courtyard by Marriott was the first brand to introduce LEED prototype designs in August 2010. Towneplace Suites and Residence Inn were added in 2011 and this year SpringHillSuites by Marriott and Fairfield Inn & Suites joined the program.

“This program provides a clearly defined roadmap to achieve LEED status by eliminating unpredictability while providing a basis to achieve Silver, Gold or Platinum certification,” said Thomas.

Hotels utilizing this program during construction are expected – when compared to hotels built with traditional methods – a 25 percent reduction in energy and water consumption. Hotels will also use 35 percent renewable energies while cutting down 75 percent of construction waste from landfills. These hotels also utilize recycled products to reduce material usage while employing low chemical emitting materials for paint, caulks and sealants. A green housekeeping program is also in place to further reduce harmful chemicals from getting into the ecosystem.

According to Nalewanski and Thomas the cost of building a LEED certified hotel is more expensive to build but with state and federal incentives the payback is less than two years. Plus market dynamics are shifting and when it comes to selling the hotel. LEED certification may help achieve a premium sale price.

“Sustainable design is so prevalent that according to stats more than 50 percent of new construction is green and if you don’t build one and your competition does then they have an advantage. By building a high performance building asset value will be enhanced in terms of the marketability of selling the property,” said Thomas.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott is currently enjoying its 15th anniversary since inception and has about 207 open with an additional 66 in various stages of development. Priced moderately, hotels feature studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom residential-style suites with 25 percent more space than traditional hotel rooms.
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