I just spent three nights in a chain hotel that was far from eco-conscious. The overly bleached towels and scratchy sheets reeked of chlorine. There were no signs suggesting that I reuse my towels and offering me the option to forgo a nightly linen change. Heck, there was hardly even a recycle bin to be found and there certainly wasn’t one in my guest room. The inefficient heating and cooling system blasted hot and very dry air out of the vents every three minutes all night long, lasting for a minute at a time. I don’t know what was worse – the deafening silence when the unit shut itself off or the white noise when it roared to life. Breakfast was sweets, sweets and more sweets – carb heavy and not all that nurturing. I was wistful of my previous stay at Element Miami International Airport, where my visit was very “spa like” despite the property not having a spa. You can read my full review here.
New pedal-powered charging stations have been installed in its fitness centers brand-wide, including Element Miami which I visited last year. The brand also just announced that all Element hotels are now 100% powered by renewable energy.
“The eco-wise, trailblazing brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., Element Hotels has already made history as the only major hotel brand to pursue the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for high-performance buildings brand-wide. In 2010, Element’s Global Citizenship team challenged hotel owners to increase renewable energy usage from 35% to 70% as part of the brand’s LEED volume build certification. By committing to 100% renewable energy, Element has now taken its environmental program well beyond the original standard.”
“When we set our goal for 100% renewable energy, we knew it would be ambitious to have all hotels on board by year’s end,” said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood. “Our success is in no small part due to the commitment of Element’s individual hotel owners, who continue to demonstrate that they share the brand’s commitment to environmental sustainability.”
Element hotel owners meet the renewable energy requirement by purchasing Renewable Energy Credits from their local utility or other provider. These credits guarantee that the energy the hotel uses is added to the power grid from a renewable source, such as wind, hydroelectric, solar or geothermal. The credits also help fund the further development of renewable energy facilities.
If you have the option of selecting an Element Hotel over an alternative hotel, give the brand a try. In most cases, the rates are competitive with mid-priced hotels. To date, there are Element hotels in 10 U.S. markets, with new domestic and international hotels in development.The following Element Hotels are slated to open within the next 18 months, so there is sure to be one in a city near you before long:
· Element Harrison
· Element Vancouver Metrotown
· Element Vaughn
· Element Frankfurt
“Accessible, affordable and active, Element Hotels is made to order for guests in the know and on the go. Its bright design defies convention, bathing guest rooms and public spaces in natural light. Stylish and sustainable throughout, Element offers comfort with a conscience and lots of signature amenities from its complimentary, healthy RISE breakfast and RELAX evening reception to saline swimming pools, spacious fitness centers, bikes to borrow and electric vehicle charging stations. Starwood’s latest brand innovation, Element made history in 2008 as the only major hotel brand to pursue LEED certification for high-performance buildings brand-wide.