Archive for the ‘Energy Efficiency’ Category

San Fran’s Orchard Hotel Nabs LEED-EB Certification

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Orchard GuestroomIf it works for one San Fran hotel then it must work for another. No, we’re not talking about more upscale mini bar items but Greening a hotel. In this case, the Orchard Garden Hotel’s (which garnered LEED-NC certification) sister property the Orchard Hotel just nabbed LEED-EB certification.

The Orchard represents San Francisco’s only hotel to earn this honor, the Orchard Hotel is the second hotel in California and fourth hotel in the world with this certification. The inspiration from these green hotels comes from its 85-year-old owner, Mrs. S.C. Huang, who has pushed her environmental agenda and created more environmentally safe and sustainable hotels after the untimely cancer-related deaths of three family members.

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Energetic Sustainable Symposium in San Francisco

Friday, February 13th, 2009

What do get when you mix four of the Bay Area’s top green stars, a LEED certified location, lunch and corporate sponsor wanting to spread its green wings? The spirited Sustainable Symposium sponsored by Ace here in glorious San Francisco. The symposium, in short, brought some energetic and often useful ideas from the knowledgeable and spry panel (not to mention moderator and Chicago Ace Hardware store owner Lou Manfredini) and created solid dialogue in what could have been one of another “How to green this and that discussion.”

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Going LEED Gold at the Gaia hotel

Friday, January 18th, 2008

gaia-go.jpgWe had heard a lot about the LEED Gold Gaia hotel in American Canyon (even we had to look up American Canyon and we live in San Fran) but we hadn’t actually visited it. Yes, we can only tell so much from a press release. The hotel, rather unassuming, sits right off busy Highway 29 just a short hop to both Napa and Sonoma Valley but once in the lobby or the rooms it’s not easy to hear any of the traffic. But onto the Green stuff. When checking in, it’s hard not to notice the kiosks with “green touch screens” which display how much water, electricity savings and how much CO2 the hotel emits. The overhead Solatube Tubular skylights represented an even more impressive aspect. Even on the cloudy day, the lobby had no artificial lighting, but you wouldn’t know it but the amount of natural light.

We got one of the choice rooms overlooking the man made lagoon which plays home to koi, frogs, various plant life and Artemis and Apollo (two impressive swans that live in the lagoon and strut their way around most of the hotel). By the way, the koi pond uses recycled water from the site which they clean and filter prior to entering the pond.

The sparten yet comfortable rooms offer lots of Green aspects. Small things like offering fair trade, organic coffee and not having those tiny shampoo bottles littering the bathroom made a big difference. Here they provide shampoo, lotion in bulk dispensers. We also like that all restrooms use recycled tiles and granite. While in the bathroom, we give wet kudos to the water saving low flow showerhead, which offer plenty of water pressure for one person (but not two, if you catch our drift).

We slept easy not only with a comfy, firm mattress but breathing easy with the low VOC paints were used throughout the rooms and rest of the hotel. It also helped us to know that solar panels provide 12% of the hotel’s electricity.

We know that a boutique type hotel needs a relaxing but unsustainable hot tub (yes, we partook and didn’t feel guilty) but we didn’t feel too keen about the microwave that inhabited our room but even with the little monster we felt pretty energized about our stay. It sure beats a stay in an unsustainable Motel 6.

We could very well come all the way to wine country without visiting some organic, sustainable and do we dare say biodynamic wineries. Stay tuned.

Largest Green Fleet in the Country

Friday, December 28th, 2007

hybridbus_sanfrancisco_600.jpgSan Franciscans utter a lot about our lovely municipal transit system otherwise known as MUNI but now they have even more reason to spout off about it. Normally when we hear MUNI coming out of someone’s mouth it usually follows on the heels of “Damn.” Now we can change that utterance to “Green Muni”. Sure, the 71 bus might not come on time but when it does arrive at least it will be running on biodiesel. In fact, San Fran now claims to have the largest green fleet in the nation.Of course, the fleet includes not just MUNI but ambulances and street sweepers as well. The fleet runs on virgin soy oil bought from producers in the Midwest. Sure, we’d like the fuel purchased from somewhere local but hopefully that will come in time. (more…)

Orchard Garden Hotel preview

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

luna-textiles

The Orchard Garden Hotel continues to experience a delayed opening. Yes, the soon to be LEED certified hotel originally scheduled to open in September now has a realistic November on its sights.

The delays didn’t detract from the evening where Mayor Gavin Newsom joked that instead of a ribbon cutting ceremony the evening offered more of a preview. Even, the General Manager Stefan Mühle joked that the crowd should grab paint brushes. Instead they grabbed champagne flutes, wine glasses, and appetizers (especially the sweet gazpacho) and got a mini tour of the five completed rooms.

While most people admired the coziness and sightlines of the rooms and suites, a couple of us focused on the green aspects such as the FSC certified maple wood furniture, low flow water fixtures, Luna Textiles and key card energy system. The rooms offer a clean, spartan yet cozy look. We weren’t exactly thrilled to see Chinese granite bathroom countertops but you can’t have everything green.

Green Saves Money

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Finally there’s the green that can save green. Did all you capitalists just get excited? It’s not just about photovoltaic panels, although if you’re not a fan of PG&E or the equivalent megalopolis energy supplier then the fact that an energy company can actually send you a check each month may excite your bank account in the long run.Green savings isn’t just about sticking it to the big bad energy companies but adding value to your house. When you add those photovoltaic panels, that high percentage fly ash foundation, or water recapture system then you automatically add value to your home. (more…)