A sustainability study of 46,000 US hotels by tech company Brighter Planet found budget hotels had greater energy efficiency than more expensive establishments, with upscale chain Marriott ranking 75th out of 75 chains. The study also discovered that newer hotels are less efficient, use more energy and use dirtier energy sources than their older counterparts.
The most energy and carbon-efficient US lodging chain in the study was Vagabond Inns, with Red Lion Hotels & Inns in the No. 2 spot. Both are mid-range hotels. Budget chain Red Carpet Inns was third in the ranking. Travelodge, Scottish Inns, America’s Best Inn & Suites, Shilo Inns & Resorts, Knights Inn, Howard Johnson and Rodeway Inn rounded out the top 10.
But the analysis found that energy efficient, lower carbon hotel rooms are available at every price range. Some upscale hotels beat out many mid-range chains and budget class options. Four Points Hotels by Sheraton was the most energy efficient chain among upscale lodgings, coming in 33rd overall. The analysis also found the Sheraton chain was 20 percent more energy efficient than the least efficient mid-range chain, AmericInn International.
Brighter Planet’s lodging analysis covers 80 percent of all US hotels with at least 15 rooms. The analysis modeled the hotels’ impacts using details on each property.
The study found the dirtiest 25 percent of the nation’s hotels are responsible for more than half of the entire industry’s environmental impact. But increasing interest in LEED and Energy Star program has the potential to reverse this trend, Brighter Planet said.
Marriott has been named as a sustainability leader on several occasions. Last December Climate Counts ranked the chain as the hotel sector’s leader, and in March it was one of five leisure and hospitality companies in Ethisphere’s 2012 Most Ethical Companies list.
Last month Marriott announced that GE Lighting LED retrofits at its Bethesda. Md., headquarters will reduce electricity use by 860,000 kWh, or 66 percent, and save more than $120,000 in annual combined energy and maintenance costs. And last November, Marriott and Constellation Energy agreed to develop over 23 MW of load response capability across more than 250 of the hotel’s properties in the mid-Atlantic, New York, New England, Texas and California.
Marriott is also one of 12 international hotel companies that are trying to create a single methodology for calculating carbon footprints and emissions.