Best green hotels in USA: The first LEED certified green hotel in Pittsburgh is the new Pittsburgh Fairmont, and it proves that green can be beautiful. Here’s some of what makes this luxury hotel so green that it has been awarded the Gold level of green:
Lighting — energy efficient LED and compact flourescent bulbs reduce energy use at the Pittsburgh Fairmont by enough to power about 50 households a year. Also, equipment and appliances are Energy Star compliant, which means they use 20-30 percent less energy than non-certified machinery.
Water — reduced-flow showers, automatic sensors in sinks in public areas and other fixtures save more than 900,000 gallons of water a year.
Green construction materials — All paints, carpeting, fabrics, and such have no or low emissions of volatile organic compounts (VOC), and most bedding in guestrooms is made from organic or recycled fiber. That’s is also good news for guests with allergies. Woodwork and flooring is made from timber that’s been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which means it comes from sustainably harvested forests.
Food — The hotel chef features local and organic ingredients in the restaurant and bar. Food waste is treated by a high-tech enzyme digester, and fryer oil is recycled locally into biodiesel.
CO2 — The Pittsburgh Fairmont used tiles made within 500 miles to reduce emissions from trucking it in, and large chandeliers and other decorative light fixtures were made by local Pittsburgh artisans, saving yet more tailpipe emissions. Additional programs help reduce the hotel’s CO2 emissions by 130,000 pounds a year. That’s the equivalent of taking ten passenger cars off the road for a year.
Decor — Stylish, modern, eco-friendly decor has a historic counter-point. Lobby spaces are decorated with showcases of antique dolls, tools and other objects, some of which were found during the demolition of the previous building. Also, the ceiling and chandeliers in the Grand Ballroom reminded me of Frank Lloyd Wright, which shouldn’t be surprising, since his iconic Falling Water house is a day-trip from downtown.
The Pittsburgh Fairmont opened in March 2010 as part of the downtown Three PNC Plaza, which is one of the largest green mixed-use buildings in the USA. Building owner PNC Financial Services Group has more newly constructed LEED certified buildings – 80 – than any company on earth. And Fairmont Hotels is one of the pioneers in green hotel practices in the world.
- Newest and largest green hotel in New York City, the InterContinental Times Square
- Best green hotel in San Francisco is the W San Francisco
- Westin Riverfront in Beaver Creek is leading green hotel in Colorado
Who says green hotels can’t be beautiful, and luxurious.
by Evelyn Kanter