Hilton Cleveland Downtown strives for Silver LEED status

CLEVELAND—Opened several weeks before the 2016 Republican National Convention, the Hilton Cleveland Downtown provides a connection to the Huntington Convention Center and is adjacent to the Global Center for Health Innovation.

The 600-room convention-style property, which overlooks Lake Erie and the First Energy Stadium, attempts to draw a connection to the surrounding environment. The all-glass facade offers a reflection of the sky and cityscape while floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to flow through the guestrooms. 

Hilton Cleveland Downtown, designed by Atlanta-based architecture firm Cooper Carry, also aims to draw a connection to Hilton Worldwide’s commitment to sustainability through advanced building design, operational efficiency and reducing natural resources. The hotel has applied for U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. 

To achieve Silver LEED certification, the building has to incorporate sustainably minded features such as smart thermometers and occupancy sensors. Sustainable efforts in the guestrooms include low-flow toilets, water closets, showers and faucets. In the public areas, auto-flush systems and sensor faucets contribute to lower water usage as well.

Overall, at least 20% of construction materials sourced from the region were comprised of recycled content. All paintings, coatings, adhesives and sealants are low VOC. About one-third of electricity purchased is sourced from renewable methods. The property includes a green roof, the laundry facility uses cold water, green cleaners and engages in soap recycling, and food composting takes place on a daily basis.

To reduce waste costs and divert waste, Hilton Cleveland Downtown installed an ORCA (Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative). All food scraps are collected from kitchen prep work and dining service and deposited in designated bins. The contents are loaded into a digester throughout the day and combined with fresh water and enzymes. The food is broken down at a rate of 100 pounds per hour, depending on the food waste composition, and the outgoing product is earth-friendly graywater.

The parent company of the ORCA is Totally Green Inc., an organic food processing system company founded in 2007. This Toronto-based company develops, manufactures and markets the ORCA solution, which consists of a machine that sustainably processes food waste. It also provides an extensive service plan to ensure clients get the support and attention they need.

Every year,  garbage trucks in Canada and the U.S. that haul away food waste burn 1.7 billion gallons of diesel fuel. Food waste adds 106 billion pounds of material to landfill sites, according to ORCA. Its earth-friendly technology can reduce any food-service operation’s carbon footprint by eliminating the need to transport food waste to landfills or remote composting facilities.

As many major U.S. cities are poised to ban organic waste from landfills, an ORCA machine can divert up to 875,000 pounds of food waste from going to landfill sites in just one year. This reduces the amount of methane gases produced, and reduces garbage truck diesel fuel usage and resulting CO2 emissions. Having an ORCA on the premises could qualify a hotel property for a TripAdvisor GreenLeaders designation.

Luxury hotels such as the Waldorf Astoria New York and InterContinental Toronto Centre have installed the ORCA in their kitchens. These hotels not only sought to eliminate the cost of having food waste hauled away by trucks but also looked to reduce the amount of time employees spent carting the waste around the building to put in bins or bags awaiting collection. The ORCA also helps eliminate odors and pests that come with accumulated food waste on the premises.

In particular, the Hilton Cleveland Downtown utilizes ORCA’s OG100, which is the largest model available. A heavy-duty machine with stainless steel construction, it weighs 1,500 pounds. Food waste can be added regularly to achieve maximum digestion capacity. The OG100 utilizes ORCA biochips to hold high levels of microorganisms that digest organic waste. According to the company, this model diverts 378 tons of food waste per year from landfills.

“In four to six months, we will have a better sense of its overall positive impact, but from what we understand, it has the ability to reduce up to 200 tons of waste on an annual basis,” said Derek Egnatowski, director of property operations, Hilton Cleveland Downtown. 

The entire facility’s heating and cooling is controlled through an energy management system (EMS), which allows property management to control the entire building from a single desktop, including specific rooms and areas in the hotel. “We can see live readings on heating and cooling systems throughout the day and quickly diagnose issues,” said Egnatowski.

The welcome desk in the lobby features a green wall.

Hilton Cleveland Downtown also utilizes INNCOM by Honeywell thermostats in the guestrooms with occupancy sensors that tie back to the main computer system. This allows property operations to set parameters remotely as well as establish settings for when the room is occupied, Egnatowski pointed out.

The building also meets or exceeds the insulation required by the USGBC and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards, he added. The windows are a low-emissivity glass, which is capable of sustaining the long, cold winter season in Cleveland. Additionally, the building management system (BMS) continuously monitors HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems.

Lighting features include occupancy and daylight sensors throughout the meeting and public spaces, which are linked to a main computer system. Operations has the capability to set controls and parameters. The daylight sensors allow the property to auto-dim lights throughout the public spaces. LED lighting is provided throughout the property.

“There are also occupancy sensors in the guestroom bathrooms that will turn the lights off automatically when guests are not in the room so that bathroom lights don’t remain on throughout the day,” said Egnatowski. “The lighting upgrades are expected to yield more than $70,000 annually in energy savings.”

CHMWarnick, a hotel asset management and business advisory services company, has been selected by Cuyahoga County to asset manage the $272-million publicly funded hotel, which opened June 2016. The project is a collaboration between the Cuyahoga County Council, Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council and the City of Cleveland. Hilton Hotels & Resorts will operate the hotel and provide daily operations support, including sales, marketing and customer service.

Cooper Carry’s design of Hilton Cleveland Downtown pays homage to architect Daniel Burnham’s design of Downtown Cleveland in 1903 as a green mall flanked by the city’s major government buildings.

“The site for the Hilton Cleveland Downtown occupies the last available site on that civic green,” said Bob Neal, principal of Cooper Carry’s Hospitality Studio. “We were approached to design a building respectful of Burnham’s Plan that was also unique to Cleveland, creating an iconic image for Cleveland’s skyline. The result is what you see today at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown—a building with two distinct components: a base and a tower.”

The hotel entry is on Lakeside Drive directly adjacent to the entry of the Cleveland Convention Center. “This encourages a strong connection both visually and physically,” said Neal. HB

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