By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
The Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell-Downtown has just taken Miami to new heights in the sustainable development arena. The 221-room property, which made its debut last fall, just got the development industry’s most popular green-stamp of approval: the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. With LEED Silver status in place, Hampton Brickell becomes Miami’s first LEED-certified hotel.
Hospitality Operations Inc. developed the 15-story hotel and relied on local architect Israel Bigelman to spearhead the design process and TLC Engineering to guide the project toward LEED certification. Already, the benefits of being green are showing up in the numbers. Water consumption at Hampton Brickell is 17 percent below anticipated figures, and the hotel’s natural gas and electricity costs are 49 percent and 11 percent below budget, respectively.
“The hotel industry has historically trailed other sectors when it comes to emphasizing sustainability, largely due to excessive energy and water usage,” Bernard Wolfson, president of Hospitality Operations, said in a prepared statement. “We are overcoming these obstacles at the Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell-Downtown by embracing green features that conserve resources, appeal to eco-conscious guests, and reduce our operating costs.
Other hospitality properties have stepped up and taken the lead, so to speak, this year. In June, Forty 1° North in Newport, R.I. became the state’s first LEED-certified hotel. And at the local level, Frederick, Md., will get its first LEED lodging destination with the debut of the TownPlace Suites by Marriott month.