InterContinental Hotels Gets LEED Boost

We’ve covered some green hotels from the new construction angle here at EarthTechling, but this is the first we’ve heard of a retrofit program serious enough to garner LEED volume precertification for its existing hotels. Volume precertification is a preliminary step that provides what is said to be a streamlined path to LEED certification for a large group of hotels based on a preapproved prototype and process.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)–which includes such familiar names as Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Candlewood Suites–is the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms. As of 2009, it launched Green Engage, an online tool designed to help hotels measure, manage and report their environmental impacts. While participation is up to individual hotel owners, IHG now has more than 1,000 hotels registered for Green Engage, which got the LEED nod, and expects to grow this user base throughout 2011.

Holiday Inn San Francisco

image via Holiday Inn

“On average, energy is the second largest cost in hotels and our hotel owners want help to manage this,” said Jim Abrahamson, President of IHG’s Americas region, in a statement.  It was noted as well that the LEED recognition “means our hotels can expedite their own LEED certification” by using the Green Engage process.

According to IHG, the average American hotel pays more than $500,000 in energy bills every year, and Green Engage tries to help make hotels 15% to 20% more efficient–which means IHG’s portfolio of 4,500 hotels (should they all sign on to use the program) has the potential to save over $300 million on an annual basis.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.