In a city that already boasts many green building advancements, Seattle’s Olive 8 condominium and hotel complex stands out for earning the three major environmental certifications for its design and operation: LEED Silver, a 4 Green Key Eco-Rating for hotels and, most recently, a Gold Certification from the Green Seal organization.
The 39-story tower was completed in February 2009, including 229 residential condo units on the upper floors and a 350-room Hyatt Hotel on the lower half. Today, the Hyatt at Olive 8 is the only LEED-certified hotel in Seattle and one of only three in the United Stated to hold a Green Seal Gold Certification, which requires compliance with the nonprofit organization’s Hotels & Lodging Properties standard (GS-33, 2011).
To conserve water, Hyatt at Olive 8 uses low-consumption plumbing fixtures, such as 1-gallon-per-minute shower heads and dual-flush toilets that use 29 percent less water per flush. As a result, the Hyatt uses 30 percent less energy and 20 percent less water than hotels of comparable size.
Olive 8 also has one of Seattle’s largest living rooftops, measuring 8,355 square feet. In addition to providing an urban habitat for birds and insects, the plants on the green roof help reduce the city’s overall heat-island effect and diminish storm water runoff to city sewers and Puget Sound. The roof also holds wind turbines that are positioned near the exhaust fans from the hotel restaurant, which generate extra power for the hotel and condominiums.
Other green programs at the Hyatt include food composting, in-room recycling containers and food bank donations. Hotel guests are given innovative room key-controlled light switches that turn lights off automatically when the room is not. Hotel cleaning crews use Green Seal-approved low-VOC cleaners and offers guests 100 percent toxin-free dry-cleaning services. The Hyatt also caters to groups that are interested in holding “green meetings” and events, offering locally sourced menus, recycled-paper materials, filtered water service and more.
“Hotels play an important role in setting an example for sustainability, both for the benefit of their guests and for their staff,” said Arthur Weissman, president and CEO of Green Seal in a statement released after Olive 8 was certified in November. “It is not only the mark of a quality property that cares for the health and safety of those who occupy it, but its sustainability leadership also serves as a role model for others to employ green practices at home and at their business.”
During the three-year construction process at Olive 8, the builder, R.C. Hedreen, diverted more than 95 percent of construction debris from local landfills through reuse and recycling. The company also used sustainable construction materials, installed green fixtures and donated nearly $1 million toward the preservation of 284 acres of natural areas and fragile salmon habitat to the east of Seattle.