We run a for-profit business. We search for technologies that will help us improve returns for our investors. That’s how we first became involved in green technologies – they can be profitable.
This is why we have a white roof on our newest hotel in Hershey, PA. It would not ordinarily be prudent to go with a white roof in our climate on the 42nd parallel, where the heat gains and cooling losses of a white roof come close to canceling each other out. In the Hershey market, though, it makes lots of sense. We expect to run essentially full all summer, when cooling loads are highest. In the winter, we typically take the third floor out of service so that it forms a “blanket” of insulating airspace for the operational lower floors.
That’s how we save the most energy possible in Hershey: reflectivity in the summer, an insulating blanket in the winter. That is why we installed a white/reflective roof on our new Country Inn & Suites by Carlson®, Hershey, at the Park. It’s profitable.
Carlson has just announced that it is going to a standard of reusable plates in all of their hotels. We are ready. The dish washing system in place. We were just waiting for the green light to stop buying disposables. We’re delighted that Carlson has decided to take this approach, because the guests appreciate it when they see businesses taking a responsible approach to the environment. Our investors also appreciate that our breakfast costs will go down because we won’t be throwing our dishes away any more. It’s a win for everyone.
In the four most recent apartment communities we developed, we have installed full-building, ground-source heat pump systems consisting of up to 80 wells each. These provide for all of the heating and cooling needs for the entire apartment complex. We found that this technology saves up to half-off of our entire energy bill. We can then include utilities in the rent, the residents are delighted, and it’s a profitable move for our investors. An apartment complex is fully occupied year-round, so ground source heat pumps are fabulous green technology for that application.
If developers match the green technology with the application, the exercise can be profitable and environmentally friendly at the same time. That’s a win-win!