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Are You Ready To ‘Leed’ The Way?

If it is time for a laundry renovation at your facility, I’m sure you’re considering the best machinery possible to help you conserve water and energy.  But have you considered a few renovations to your building design?  Just one or two design renovations at your facility can not only save energy and money – it is good for the environment.

So how do you go about these changes?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED system is an excellent way to get guidance in creating more environmentally and economically sound buildings – whether it be from scratch, or a renovation.

The LEED system is a point-based system where projects earn LEED points for satisfying specific green building criteria. Within each of the six LEED credit categories, projects must satisfy particular prerequisites and earn points. The six categories include Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation in Design (projects can earn ID points for green building innovations). The number of points the project earns determines the level of LEED Certification the project receives. LEED certification is available in four progressive levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Recently I learned about a building from the retail sector that was LEED certified.  The lessons learned from their progressive building practices can be applied to numerous other industries. Giant Eagle (a Pittsburgh-based grocery store) has become the first grocer in the U.S. to run a LEED-certified supermarket. The supermarket is located just south of Cleveland in Brunswick, Ohio --but their energy conserving practices are an inspiration to us all.

The energy conserving practices that were incorporated into the Giant Eagle facility’s design won it recognition as an Energy Star Retailer Partner of the year in February 2004. The 80,000 square foot building has incorporated several energy and water conserving practices as well as various environmentally-friendly practices.

Giant Eagle’s water conservation practices include water conserving equipment, saving 100,000 gallons per year, and xeric or drought-resistant landscaping, saving 400,000 gallons per year. If a supermarket can save that kind of water with their conserving steps (and think money savings too), just think how much water (and money) a hospitality property or laundry, a greater water-consuming property, could save by taking similar steps.

Giant Eagle’s energy conservation was tackled from several directions. Skylights were integrated with the lighting system so that the electric lights would adjust according to how much light comes through the skylights. They used a white reflective roof and increased insulation so that temperature control was easier and cheaper. Wind energy is used for 50 percent of their energy consumption. Energy consumption was cut by 30 percent due to their energy saving steps.  These same technologies can be used in hospitality and laundry venues to save energy – and money.  The technologies can impact lighting practices, heating and cooling approaches.

LEED certification may not be right for you, but the principles promoted by their program are solid and will benefit your business. Taking energy and environmental design steps for your hospitality property is an ECOnomically Sound decision.

If you’re interested in learning more about LEED Certification go to the United States Green Building Council’s Web site at http://www.usgbc.org.


Kit Cassingham is president of Sage Blossom Consulting and editor and publisher of ECOnomicallySound.com. She has a degree in Environmental Conservation from University of Colorado and she has been in the hospitality industry for 22 years.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Gulf Coast Laundry Acquired by Swisher Hygine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Swisher Hygiene Inc., a provider of hygiene and sanitation products and services, announced that it acquired Gulf Coast Laundry Services of Mississippi, LLC (“Gulf Coast Laundry Services”), a Mississippibased linen services company.

Gulf Coast Laundry Services provides linen rental and laundry services throughout southern Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, primarily to hotel, casino and resort customers. Concurrent with the acquisition, the founder of Gulf Coast Laundry Services, David Gross, will join Swisher Hygiene and contribute to the continued growth of its linen services business.

Total consideration paid by Swisher Hygiene in connection with the acquisition includes approximately $4.8 million in cash and the issuance of a convertible promissory note which may be converted into a maximum of 350,000 shares of Swisher Hygiene common stock subject to certain restrictions, including acceptance by the Toronto Stock Exchange.