Are Millions of Dollars Hiding in Your Hotels? What You Need to Know about the Energy Policy Act – Section 179D Tax Deductions

Have you recently done energy efficiency upgrades, or are you planning to do some this year? If so, are you aware of the EPAct, section 179D tax deduction and how it can possibly save you hundreds of thousands of dollars? As a hospitality resource, it is important to EcoGreenHotel to provide education on the ways to reduce energy and the payback period for your hotels across the country. The savings gained from energy efficiency projects can be found “above and below the line” on one’s annual P&L statement. EPAct is one of those “below the line” savings. EcoGreenHotel has strived to maximize the realized savings for its clients. It would be our pleasure to share with you this piece of the puzzle in order to better educate those seeking additional savings from their efficiency upgrades.

The next time someone brings up “EPAct”, Section 179D, or The Energy Policy Act, don’t stick your head in the sand. Here’s everything you need to know about the tax deduction that became available over six years ago under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. As of right now, EPAct is set to expire January 2013 – therefore the time to act is now to take advantage of these deductions!

Still puzzled after reading? Sign up for EcoGreenHotel’s free green hotelier webinar to learn more!


If you own a commercial building like a green hotel that was built (or substantially renovated) after January 1, 2006, you’ve got a property that may be a candidate.


Up to $1.80 per square foot. That may not sound like a big number, but for a hotel owner in Florida that recently took advantage of it, it will mean $1.3 million dollars in tax deductions for their tax year. Generally, buildings certified in the 60,000 to 120,000 square foot range, can expect to see results between $100,000 and $200,000 per building.


To take advantage of this benefit, your new construction or renovations made to the hotel in the areas of  lighting, HVAC or the envelope has to go into service (use) after January 1, 2006, it also has to be energy efficient. The energy efficiency standard is simple to state but describing the process of how it is proven is complicated and best left to experts in the field. Simply stated, your new building or the renovations, must be designed to use at least 50% LESS energy than a 2001 ASHRAE baseline.


In order to obtain the benefits of this tax deduction, you need to obtain the certification of a licensed, third party. The party certifying must use approved software and demonstrate that the building’s envelope (walls, roof, windows), lighting and HVAC systems are designed to use at least 50% less energy than the 2001 ASHRAE 90.1 standard. This is a standard set forth by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the software modeling is used to create two models. One model is the hotel or building as designed and the other is the hotel or building if designed pursuant to the 2001 standard. The models are compared to see if your building makes the grade. If if does, you can qualify for up to $1.80 per square foot in deductions.


Yes. If the hotel or building does not meet the 50% standard, each of the systems being reviewed can be qualified separately (HVAC, Envelope and Lighting) for up $.60 per square foot. The building’s lighting as a separate qualification can qualify partially for between $.30 and $.60 per square foot.


Yes. Believe it or not, the IRS does require that there be a third party verification of the existence of the hotel or building and that it is built to the specifications that were modeled for energy efficiency.


No. But the engineering report that substantiates the tax deduction should be kept on file in case of an audit. If done properly, the report can be a hundred pages or more.


The tax deductions under the Energy Policy Act are primarily intended to benefit the owner of a commercial property. However, the statute’s intent to incentivize “green” building by giving this tax deduction, is not able to be realized in cases where the owner of the property is a federal, state or local government. Likewise, entities that do not pay federal taxes makes this deduction essentially worthless to them. The statute allows the deduction in those cases, to be allocated to the DESIGNER of the building instead. The “designer” can be the architect, an engineer, or any other party responsible for the energy efficient design.

Architects need to obtain a third party study of the energy efficiency of the building in question as an owner would do, but they also need to obtain an allocation of the benefit from the owner as part of their audit trail.  Naturally, the IRS needs to confirm, in the event of an audit, that this particular designer was in fact responsible for the energy efficient design. Placing the responsibility for verifying that in the hands of owner makes sense, but the language of the statute with regard to the allocation of 179D benefits to the designer by the owner of the energy efficient building, has been less than perfect.


Ideally, the tax deduction is taken in the year in which the property is “placed in service” or opens for business.  This is typically the date of a temporary certificate of occupancy but it can vary. So, for example, a new hotel opens up in 2011, no matter how long the design or construction process took, would give rise to a tax deduction against 2011 income. You can take it on your tax return when filing your 2009 tax return, amend your return for up to three tax periods and receive a refund overpayment or go all the way back to 2006 and have your CPA catch it all up with a 3115 form now that the IRS brought out Revenue Procedure 2011-14 in January of 2011.


It is a tax deduction, which means that the “cash value” of it is different than if it were a credit. Tax “credits” reduce each dollar of tax you pay, whereas tax “deductions” are worth the dollar amount of the deduction, multiplied times your marginal tax rate. So if you are entitled to a deduction of $100,000 in a year when you are paying taxes at a rate of 35%, the value of that tax deduction to you is $35,000.


Yes. Owners who take the deduction also must reduce their basis in the building asset.


Generally, a study can be done at a cost that equates to less than 10% of the amount of your tax deduction or less. Beware of companies that get paid on a contingency. You may be overpaying and the IRS may question the independence of the study. After all, if the company gets paid more if they qualify more, their results may be open to conflict. Companies that charge a set fee by the square foot will not raise this red flag.

EcoGreenHotel’s engineering resource specializes in working with hoteliers to assist them in maximizing their tax savings in the niche’ specialty tax services like energy tax Section 179D studies, cost segregation and R & D Tax Credits.
If you have a specific question about any of these studies please contact EcoGreenHotel.

EcoGreenHotel is hosting an online webinar discussing this very topic free of charge! The webinar is scheduled for February 9th, 2012 at 2:00 PM EST via Click to sign up!
About EcoGreenHotel

EcoGreenHotel LLC (Knoxville, TN), is a privately held company dedicated to helping lodging facilities address a broad spectrum of sustainability issues. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, The company also runs an online marketplace for green products and services at In addition to the online offerings, EcoGreenHotel provides customized consulting services tailored to the needs of the hospitality industry in the areas of energy efficiency and certifications, including LEED, Green Seal and Energy Star. For those properties that have reached certified levels of sustainability, EcoGreenHotel assists with marketing services to position the properties within the growing “green” space and enhance revenue. For further information, email or call 888-229-0213.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station Now Available at Knoxville Hotels

Knoxville, Tennessee – January 10, 2011 – Out of town visitors and local travelers in the Knoxville area now have more fueling options for their Electric Vehicles (EV). Four Knoxville area green hotels operated by Kana Hotel Group are doing their part to help to build the EV Charging network.  Eight charging stations positioned in preferred parking spaces have now been installed.

“We worked with ECOtality to install Level 2 charging stations at four of our Knoxville area hotels.  Providing travelers green fueling options as they visit Knoxville is the next step in our sustainability efforts.  It’s exciting to be part of a large undertaking like the EV Project. The charging stations will be the perfect addition to all of the green practices that we already implemented in our hotels.  Aside from Knoxville, we have also installed them at our two Nashville area locations” said Kevin Mahoney President – Kana Hotel Group

Only a few short years ago, the idea of a green Holiday Inn in Clinton, TN or green Hampton Inn in Lenoir City, TN was almost unimaginable. Today it is a reality. Kana worked with EcoGreenHotel to implement water and energy conservation measures to dramatically reduce operational costs through the use of energy management systems and create some of the greenest hotels in the Knoxville area.

Tennessee is one of seven regions in the U.S. participating in the EV project, which is managed by electric vehicle charge company ECOtality. The $230 million project, partially funded with $114.8 million in Department of Energy grants, intends to bring 14,000 charging stations to 18 cities by next summer.

In Tennessee, the project will seek to connect three cities–Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville-by covering about 425 miles with home and public charging stations, including those on the highway corridors between the cities.

“The day is coming when many travelers will choose their overnight hotel based on whether or not it has a charging station in the parking lot. In addition to the EV Project there are also companies such as U-Go Stations that make it possible for a green hotel to add a EV Station as an amenity and add a revenue stream with little or no cost out of pocket.“ Scott Parisi President – EcoGreenHotel

At these four Knoxville area hotels the charging stations will be offered as an amenity at no cost to overnight guests. Non-Guest EV owners who are passing through and need to re-charge will be able to pay with a credit card.

With installations completed, you can now charge your vehicle at:

  • West of Knoxville at the Hampton Inn Lenoir City -585 Ft. Loudon Medical Center Dr., Lenoir City 37772
  • East of Knoxville at Exit 398 at the Holiday Inn Express Knoxville – East – 730 Rufus Graham Road, Knoxville 37924 & the Hampton Inn Knoxville – East 7445 Sawyer Road, Knoxville 37924
  • North of Knoxville at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites – 111 Hillvale Road, Clinton 37716

To hear more about EcoGreenHotel’s sustainable solutions for hotels contact us at

About Kana Hotel Group

Kana Hotel Group is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee with a Southern Regional Office located in Tampa, FL. KHG is an award winning hotel ownership, development, and management company providing comprehensive development and management services to the Hotel industry. Their current portfolio consists of 22 properties located in nine states, with 5 others currently under development. Kana’s portfolio includes the following leading brands: Marriott International, Inc., Hilton Worldwide, and InterContinental Hotel Group. For further information about our Award Winning hospitality management services please contact us at

About EcoGreenHotel

EcoGreenHotel LLC (Knoxville, TN), is a privately held company dedicated to helping lodging facilities address a broad spectrum of sustainability issues. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, The company also runs an online marketplace for green products and services In addition to the online offerings, EcoGreenHotel provides customized consulting services tailored to the needs of the hospitality industry in the areas of energy efficiency and certifications, including LEED, Green Seal and Energy Star. For those properties that have reached certified levels of sustainability, EcoGreenHotel assists with marketing services to position the properties within the growing “green” space and enhance revenue. For further information, email or call 888-229-0213.


LEDs Have a Bright Future

LEDs give off a very bright, crystal clear light. For those looking to save money and be more environmentally conscience, however, these innovative products emit all green.

Because of the high expense associated with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the past, very few people considered them for most everyday use. With recent changes in semiconductor technology and a huge drop in material costs, that is all changing and these energy-efficient lights are leading the charge into a brighter, greener future.

While there are many factors to consider, over the course of a typical lifespan of a bulb, one LED on average will save a user $160 versus an incandescent bulb. Considering that savings calculation is based on changing just one 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 2-watt LED bulb, the amount a green hotelier can expect to save on his or her monthly utility bill after changing multiple bulbs will be substantial.

The reason for this is in the respective designs.

Incandescent bulbs need a lot more energy to light the filament inside. Basically, they are mini heaters with light being emitted as a byproduct once it gets hot enough. In this process, most of the heat is lost. Not only is that a huge waste of energy – and money – but it can lead to safety concerns, too, as the bulb itself gets scorching hot after just a few minutes of use.

LEDs, on the other hand, produce light by the movement of electrons. This takes far less energy and hardly any of it is lost. The result is a bulb that stays cool to the touch no matter how long it is left on, which in itself is a reason for any hotelier to smile.

On average, incandescent lights are said to last roughly 1000 hours. Many bulbs burn out far before that time, however, due to the fact that filament technology is not good at handling electricity fluctuations, which occur every time the light is turned on.

With a life expectancy of 30,000 hours, LEDs last up to 30 times longer. They also last up to 10 times longer than the other “eco” lighting option – the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). Considering they don’t have mercury or other toxic substance in them like CFLs do, they are also much safer.

In the end, the durability and energy-efficiency associated with LEDs are unrivaled by any other option currently on the market. While the light emitted is a bright, clear white color, the hotel energy savings associated with this new semi-conductor technology has everyone seeing green.



NOTE: The Clean Energy Act of 2007 requires all light bulbs sold to have 25% more efficiency by the year 2012 and 200% more efficiency by 2020. That pretty much spells the end to the incandescent light as we know it. Thus, now is the ideal time to look into LEDs and other energy-efficient measures. The experts at EcoGreenHotel can help you come up with a coordinated plan that will reduce energy consumption and greatly improve your bottom line. For more information, please contact Scott Parisi at


Super 8 – Ukiah, CA Awarded EPA’s Energy Star Label!

The Super 8 Ukiah, CA has just been awarded the Energy Star label for achieving the stringent standards set forth by the federal government. Ranking in at least the top 25th percentile of energy efficient hotels in the country, the Super 8’s Energy Star label is truly outside validation for the sustainability efforts it has been implementing over the past several years. With its recent renovation, the hotel has thought of everything to foster an environmentally friendly impact. Given the hotel’s surrounding home – the great redwood forest & Californian wine country – its no wonder why this lodging venue has chosen to help preserve its community. From a 100% organic breakfast to an electric vehicle charging station, the Super 8’s commitment to sustainability goes far beyond reducing energy consumption.

“Due to the increasing climate change and energy crises the need for environment friendly hotels have increased,” the hotel’s management explains, “we maintain our stand, not just because we have to, but because we feel responsible for creating a place where all things are found in their original, base, unaltered form. A Green hotel is not just fashion, but it’s the need of the hour that can help retain and extend the beauty of the place where it is situated. Super 8 Ukiah makes every effort to make it a perfect example of a friendly co-existence where neither nature nor our guests are disturbed due to the other’s presence.”

Super 8 Ukiah conducts efficient waste disposal, energy and water saving strategies, recycling throughout the property, purchasing habits, and many designated eco-initiatives. In addition to this they have linen reuse program for stay over guests and other recycling programs. All rooms are cleaned with eco-friendly chemicals provided by Ecolab and all our lighting, laundry equipment, ice machines, printers are energy star compliant and our pool utilizes a Salinization solution to eliminate harmful chemicals.

Some of the other practices that are rigorously followed include programmable timers and occupational sensors for light systems, use of old news papers for cleaning, double panned Low E windows, employee carpooling, proper disposal of fluorescent light bulbs, and further precautions to assure energy efficiency.

“The accomplishment of becoming an Energy Star Labeled property should not be underestimated” stated Scott Parisi, President of EcoGreenHotel “The average hotel in the country is rated a 50 out of the possible 100 score derived from the Energy Star Benchmarking. The Super 8 achieved a score over the minimum 75 needed to be Energy Star Labeled.”

EcoGreenHotel salutes the Super 8 – Ukiah for its achievement and is proud to be associated with this establishment’s sustainability endeavors!

About the EcoGreenHotel

EcoGreenHotel supports and provides sustainable solutions to the hospitality industry ranging from individual boutique hotels to a broad spectrum of brand properties. Our clients range from individual owners and investors to management companies nationwide. EcoGreenHotel supports hotels to identify energy efficient strategies that reduce a property’s energy usage and overall environmental impact. As owner’s agents and through our vendor neutral approach, we find the right technologies, products and solutions to deliver the best quality and value for all our clients. We specialize in identifying and taking advantage of incentives, grants, rebates and loan programs that are available through federal, state and local agencies.

EcoGreenHotel Congratulates The Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia on Their Latest Achievement – Having Won Best Hotel in Columbia by Destination Guide!

The Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia, SC won the 2011 “Best Hotel in Columbia” designation from Destination Guide. The achievement was awarded due to the hotel’s consistent quality and the commitment to the community by operating an environment friendly hotel. The Holiday Inn is an EcoRoom certified property, Fresh Stay participant, and currently in the process of becoming LEED Gold certified! Its sustainability conscious mindset can be seen from the environmentally friendly lobby flooring, to the salt water pool sanitation system, tank-less hot water heaters, and all the way down to its sports bar restaurant recycling its fryer’s oil!

In 2009, the Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia opened the 122-room hotel in South Carolina. From the ground up, the hotel was built with not only with its customers’ needs in mind, but also with environmental sustainability. Using the LEED new construction framework, owner Hema Patel knew the initially higher costs would pay off in about five years, as the energy savings year after year accumulated. “Green hotels are crucial in the reducing climate change,” says Patel. “Building green can lower CO2 emissions, and at the same time, improve the bottom line through energy and other savings.  We all must consider that the planet is an asset that belongs to every living thing and to every living thing to be born.”
Being awarded the Best Hotel in Columbia by Destination Guide is proof positive that such environmentally friendly measures not only yield savings, but can actually foster & promote an award winning hospitality environment. From the entire team at EcoGreenHotel we offer Congratulations to the Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia-Airport for your spectacular achievement!

To learn more about the Holiday Inn & Suites Columbia’s achievements check out the video at:

About the EcoGreenHotel
EcoGreenHotel supports and provides sustainable solutions to the hospitality industry ranging from individual boutique hotels to a broad spectrum of brand properties. Our clients range from individual owners and investors to management companies nationwide. EcoGreenHotel supports hotels to identify energy efficient strategies that reduce a property’s energy usage and overall environmental impact. As owner’s agents and through our vendor neutral approach, we find the right technologies, products and solutions to deliver the best quality and value for all our clients. We specialize in identifying and taking advantage of incentives, grants, rebates and loan programs that are available through federal, state and local agencies.

“Walk In” To Hotel Refrigeration Energy And Repair Savings With eCube

The EcoGreenHotel team and I have been evaluating, recommending and installing energy and sustainable solutions into the hospitality industry for several years. With an abundance of new energy saving technologies being promoted by proven and unproven vendors one of the most important responsibilities we engage in daily is evaluating new technologies. After cautious due diligence we have recognized eCube as our newest technology that our Energy Solutions Division recommends to hotels as part of our E2A Program (Energy Efficiency Analysis). We now also offer eCube on our online storefront – EcoGreenHotel Store.

eCube is one of those simple, “no-brainer” sustainable solutions that benefits the environment and your bottom line. Its concept is to reduce refrigeration compressor activity by telling the refrigerator when the food itself requires cooling! eCube consists of a food simulant that mimics food temperature.

Click here for informational video..


– With eCube in place, the refrigerator’s thermostat now regulates its refrigeration activity based upon food temperature rather than air temperature. Because the circulating air temperature tends to rise more quickly than food temperature, the refrigeration unit works harder than necessary to maintain stored products at the right temperature.

eCube acts as a compressor regulator to control when a compressor cycle begins and ends. For example, a Refrigeration Case without eCube will cycle 3 minutes on, 2 minutes off = 12 cycles per hour. With eCube installed, the cycles change to 8 minutes on, 7 minutes off = 4 cycles per hour – a 66% reduction in starts. The startup portion of the compressor cycle uses 3 times more power; therefore, a considerable energy savings is possible.

Beyond the simple energy consumption reduction savings, eCube possesses many additional benefits. With the refrigeration cycles reduced, less “wear & tear” occurs translating into lower maintenance costs and an increased product lifespan! With eCube simulating actual food temperature, less food spoilage will occur. Finally, the product has a typical return-on-investment of 6-18 months.

eCube has conducted and published case study trials to further validate their claims. Each trial resulted in: 1. Food temperature remaining within safety guidelines, 2. eCube food simulant provided temperature readings equivalent to that of the food within refrigerator, 3. Energy savings 10% – 30% observed.

eCube is NSF approved as a food safety device, will NOT void any manufacturer’s warranty programs, works with both electronic & mechanical thermostats, open & closed refrigeration cases, has NO electrical or mechanical parts, and installs in minutes!

For more information on eCube or our full line of energy saving technologies and solutions please contact us at

About the EcoGreenHotel

EcoGreenHotel supports and provides sustainable solutions to the hospitality industry ranging from individual boutique hotels to a broad spectrum of brand properties. Our clients range from individual owners and investors to management companies nationwide. EcoGreenHotel supports hotels to identify energy efficient strategies that reduce a property’s energy usage and overall environmental impact. As owner’s agents and through our vendor neutral approach, we find the right technologies, products and solutions to deliver the best quality and value for all our clients. We specialize in identifying and taking advantage of incentives, grants, rebates and loan programs that are available through federal, state and local agencies.

Now In Stock

Pineapple Hospitality’s Tommy Bahama Amenity Products and Dispensers are now available through the EcoGreen Hotel Store

Pineapple Hospitality is proud to announce that Tommy Bahama branded amenities and dispensers are now available through the EcoGreenHotel Store.

With high-quality soaps, shampoos, conditioners,  shower gels, and moisturizer products, the Tommy Bahama Travelers Collection amenities are a complete line of hotel personal care items designed to capture the essence of luxury island living.

Tommy Bahama amenities were created specifically for hotel guests using gentle formulas and natural ingredients, which are never tested on animals and are packaged with the environment in mind. The Exotic Coral fragrance brings a clean, fresh aroma to give hotel guests a relaxed and pampered feeling, and will help to enhance your guest’s entire experience while staying at your property.

“Tommy Bahama is a brand known for luxury and is associated with quality,” says Scott Parisi, President of EcoGreenHotel. “By using these great products along with Tommy Bahama branded dispensers, you’ll save on product costs, save time spent on housekeeping for each room, and reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills each day. It is a great opportunity for hotels looking to take a big step toward socially responsible travel.”

The EcoGreenHotel Store is an online marketplace for hotels and a one-stop marketplace of over 1,000 greener products and services for the lodging industry. EcoGreenHotel is a partner of Pineapple Hospitality, the premiere distributor of Greener Hotel Products and Marketing programs for the Hospitality Industry.

“Tommy Bahama amenities have been uniquely designed to support the casual lifestyle of the brand for the luxury hotel setting,” says Ray Burger, President of Pineapple Hospitality. “We’ve had great success with these products amongst luxury boutique hotels and inns. With these amenities available in gallon sizes for use in Tommy Bahama branded dispensers, the benefits are multiplied by tremendous cost savings.”

The Tommy Bahama gallon amenities available through Pineapple Hospitality include:

  • Exotic Coral Shampoo
  • Exotic Coral Protective Conditioner
  • Exotic Coral Liquid Soap
  • Exotic Coral Hand & Body Lotion
  • Exotic Coral Bath & Body Gel

Adopting Green Technology

While gallon amenity dispensers have been growing in popularity amongst green hotel and high-end inns, Parisi says the dispensers are now gaining traction amongst even the major hotel brands. The Aloft and Element brands by Starwood, as well as Hilton Hotels, have begun utilizing or even mandating the use of amenity dispensers in hotel guestrooms.

“We’re definitely moving in the right direction in the adoption of dispenser technologies,” says Parisi. “Awareness of these products has been brought to the forefront by luxury hotels and inns. Guests are catching on too. These systems test really well with upscale properties that have several well communicated environmental initiatives in place. Basically, the stronger the environmental program at the property, the more comfortable the guest becomes with the branded amenity dispenser.”

The Tommy Bahama amenity dispensers are not only practical and convenient, but they are sleek and stylish – perfect for any hotel’s décor. These dispensers eliminate the waste that comes with individually packaged bathroom care products, and cuts the clutter in your hotel, bed & breakfast or inn while reducing the carbon footprint of your property.

The benefits include:

  • Reduce waste
  • Cost savings
  • Convenient
  • Stylish dispensers
  • Good for the planet

“Individual properties and inns really enjoy providing the Tommy Bahama products for their guests, and can see the difference a branded amenity program makes to their bottom lines,” says Burger. “Implementing a branded amenity dispenser program makes a real difference in reducing the waste that comes from a typical hotel amenity program.”

Dispensers allow hotels to reduce amenity costs, reduce waste, and save on shipping and packaging costs.

Parisi says hotels become more receptive to green technologies when they become more cost effective.

“Sustainable technology is becoming a lot more affordable,” Parisi says. “The return on investment makes a positive impact all the way around.”

“With some new technologies like solar and wind power, you need huge capital outlays, incentives and rebates to get a program off the ground and make it worthwhile,” he adds. “Branded Amenity dispensers immediately reduce your costs. Depending on what you are using now, you’ll see a significant decrease in amenity costs.”

About Pineapple Hospitality

Headquartered in Saint Charles, Missouri, Pineapple Hospitality™ brings fresh ideas to hospitality guests’ doors and owner/operators’ bottom lines — including FreshStay® (, EcoRooms & EcoSuites, Environmentally Sensitive Amenities™, EO®, ecossential elements, Sonoma Soap Co. , Earth Perfect, Earth Simple, Save Your World, Pharmacopia, and greenSPA™ amenities, AVIVA and WAVE dispensers, Energy Efficient Lighting and Controls, Custom Linen & Towel Re-Use Programs, Green Earth Key Cards, Sleeves and Folders, Energy Management Systems and Controls, High Performance showerheads, Zero Odor, and dozens of other products and programs. For more information, please visit, or call us at 636-922-2285.

Philagreen – Supporting Sustainability at Philadelphia Area Hotels

Since the organization’s founding in 2008, The Philagreen Hospitality Association (PGHA) has worked towards improving the sustainability practices of the Philadelphia area hospitality sector. To accomplish this, PGHA’s mission has been to setup and connect the hospitality managers with environmental professionals. The subsequent established relationship yields results two-fold: economically viable & environmentally beneficial. First, for this to work, any rational industry will examine “the bottom-line” before any project is to be undertaken. Fortunately, today’s “green initiatives” are both cost effective and environmentally beneficial. This “win – win” is exactly how PGHA can cultivate and grow such cooperative relationships. PGHA has around eight meetings a year that feature guest speakers including experts on energy efficiency, recycling and sustainable practices. Membership is open to hoteliers, restaurateurs, and qualifying suppliers. In addition to educational and networking opportunities, association members benefit from information on tax breaks and utility incentives, a bimonthly e-newsletter including information on the latest green products and practices, and public relations assistance through PGHA’s own website.

The Woman Behind The Vision
The secret to Philagreen’s success can be traced back to its founder and Executive Director, Francine Cohen. Her insight into the disconnect between local business’ current practices and the available greener, eco-friendly alternatives gave rise to PGHA. “I have been an eco-conscious citizen for decades,” Cohen says. “I have always been interested in the hospitality industry as a consumer. I saw there was a need in Philadelphia for an organization that would act as a one-stop shop for hotel and restaurant owners and operators interested in saving money and energy.” Cohen says there are 87 properties in the Greater Philadelphia area, eight of which are Energy Star rated (all Marriotts) and only one that is Green Seal certified (Philadelphia Airport Marriott). The potential for growth in a green organization like PGHA is significant.

On Thursday September 15, 2011, Cohen will be hosting one of PGHA’s multiple member events at the Philadelphia Four Season titled “Green RFPs, Restaurants and Range Hoods.” As its title implies, the meeting’s guest speakers will discuss how hoteliers can respond to RFP environmental questions, the efficiency advancements in kitchen ventilation hoods, and green practices for restaurants.

What Makes A Green Hotel, Green?

Carbon footprints, spiral CFL bulbs, eco-design, Energy Star, off-setting, renewable energy… All these “eco-buzz words” can be confusing when it comes to actually defining what it means to “go green.” What all these concepts have in common is the reduction in energy consumption. Therefore, a “Green” hotel is one that simply is able to obtain a reduction in its energy usage to the point at which outside acknowledgment is bestowed.

The biggest opportunities for energy reduction lie in the largest areas of energy consumption. The three major systems for on-site energy consumption in a hotel are lighting, HVAC, and hot water production. Hotels consume around 30% of their electricity costs on lighting alone! By making the latest CFL & LED lighting upgrades in guestroom, common areas and the back of the house, hotels are realizing immediate and consistent savings, without any impact on overall guest experience or installation costs.
Next, occupancy based HVAC energy management systems and building automation systems have proven to save 15-30% of heating and cooling cost. HVACEMS systems can range from under $300 to the most advanced for $1100+ per key. As with lighting, there are rebates and incentives available for EMS. Some utility companies will even cover up to seventy-five percent of the costs. Lastly, the heating of domestic hot water in a hotel is another area for significant savings. Hot water for showers, F&B, and laundry can be up to 50% of the natural gas expense for a hotel! Boiler Energy Cost Management System (BECMS) essentially automates the operation of the hot water recirculation loop in a building. This solution helps minimize the energy expended to constantly heat and reheat the same circulating water throughout a building.

With these sustainable solutions outlined, one might ask how much of an energy reduction is required to be considered green? Simply, there is no magic formula – there are many “green labels” available – like LEED, Energy Star, EcoSuites, & Green Seal Certified to name a few – each with their own criteria. Energy Star’s method ranks the national average of energy consumption at 50 and requires a building to improve up to at least the 75th percentile to receive their certification. LEED utilizes a points system, where every sustainable measure receives a specific amount of points. The total then condones a specific “tier” of LEED certification starting at 49. Regardless of which certification label is sought, each requires quantifiable evidence to prove a reduction in energy consumption has occurred.

Help Along The Way To Sustainability

After a hotel has decided to examine the steps to “go green,” there are many companies, organizations, and incentives that can help achieve this goal. Philagreen is an obvious example that provides a clearinghouse of green services. PGHA’s wealth of knowledge can help provide “green” contacts for project management and implementation, as well as, green information concerning local utility rebates and government grants or loans. Linking up with a “green expert” is invaluable; they help navigate the financial incentives, product claims, and actual utility savings with the end goal of providing a favorable return on investment.

In Pennsylvania, PEPCO and PPL are two of the largest utility providers. Both offer extensive energy efficiency rebate programs. PPL says its rebates were designed to reimburse commercial customers for about 50% of the added cost for buying high efficiency equipment. PPL’s rebates for packaged air conditioners, chillers, occupancy sensors, LED exit signs, and T8 fluorescents are the most popular. To specify, T8 lamp rebates fetch around $5 – $19 each, and $.35 rebate for every watt reduced in power density. Similarly, PEPCO offsets Energy Management Systems’ costs by providing a rebate of $.10 – $.21per square foot the system regulates. Additionally, LED bulbs receive a $15 rebate and fluorescents $1 – $9. Beyond their “approved rebate lists,” both offer customized rebate programs for other upgrades pending a technical analysis study of the upgrade in question. This flexibility should not be surprising as utility providers seek to address the conservation of power in peak areas to prevent service outages. Finally, there are additional financial incentives offered on the state and federal levels. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as “the stimulus,” has allocated over $55 billion for “green initiatives” with $6.3 billion of that going towards state & local grants for energy efficiency programs. The State of Pennsylvania currently offers both grant and loan energy efficiency incentives up to 50% of the project’s cost.

The focus on sustainability is here to stay – government is prioritizing it due to increasing energy costs, companies are including related RFP questions, and individuals are more aware of this issue than ever before. For hotels and all businesses, now is the time to examine efficiency upgrades. With the current levels of local, state and federal incentives, there should be no hesitation in examining the ROIs for such undertakings. Beyond helping the environment, going green is also helping enterprise’s bottom lines!

About Francine Cohen

Francine Cohen is Executive Director of Philagreen Hospitality Association founded the organization in 2008 after recognizing that local hotels and restaurants needed help understanding and implementing sustainability practices. Motivated by her passion for environmental responsibility, Francine consults with hoteliers to lessen their impacts on the environment.

About the Author

Scott Parisi is the founder of EcoGreenHotel, a firm that develops energy and sustainability projects for commercial buildings with a large focus on the hospitality sector. As President of EGH, Scott’s day to day responsibilities include developing and implementation of energy and sustainability strategies into hotels, leveraging federal state and local utility incentives to subsidies projects and building partnerships with like minded companies that add value to EGH’s client base. Additionally, Scott develops and hosts educational workshops, staff trainings and has spoke at national and regional events including AAHOA’s National Convention, Green Lodging & Hospitality Conference, Boston Green Tourism Events, Philagreen Hospitality Association Events, GF Management University Sessions, National Purchasing Network Annual Expo and the Global Renewable Energy Networking Summit.

Kana Hotel Group Announce the Grand Opening of Green-Focused, Eco-Friendly Hampton Inn and Suites in Tupelo MS

August 11, 2011 TUPELO, MS – Kana Hotel Group is pleased to announce the grand opening of the green-focused, eco-friendly Hampton Inn & Suites Tupelo/Barnes Crossing MS.  Located in the hills of Northeast Mississippi, the property offers a location and amenities suitable for both personal and business travel. Officially open as of July 1, 2011, with the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the property taking place on August 2011.

In cooperation with its sustainability and energy efficiency partner EcoGreenHotel and Humphreys & Associates Contractors, Kana Hotel Group’s mission was to create a property that was eco friendly, sustainable and energy-efficient.  “We go beyond incorporating sustainability initiatives that are visible to our hotel guests including LED lighting, heating and cooling energy management systems that are forward-thinking and environmentally responsible,” said Stephanie Browning, General Manager – Hampton Inn & Suites Tupelo/Barnes Crossing.  Towards this end, measures put in place at the Tupelo property include the following:


  • Cree LED Lighting in areas where lights are used 24 hours a day;
  • Lighting occupancy sensor controls in all back-of-house areas;
  • LED lights for all parking lot lighting fixtures;
  • The NuTek Ozone System for laundry installed by US Energy Solutions;
  • High efficiency tankless water heaters by Rinnai Corporation;
  • Exhaust air and heat recovery systems to reduce energy in all guest rooms;
  • High-efficient Amana AC units and energy management systems in all guest rooms;
  • Dual flush commodes, faucet fixtures, shower heads and aerators; and
  • Highly reflective roofing materials in order to reduce heat absorption.

“EcoGreenHotel and the Kana Hotel Group share a common passion for developing properties with environmental responsibility at top of mind; this is clearly evident with the Tupelo property,” said Kevin Hall of US Energy Solutions, installer of the property’s NuTek Ozone System.  “We are pleased to be working with companies that share this vision.”

Alpesh Patel, owner of the Kana Hotel Group, also noted that, “Hilton Worldwide, the parent company of Hampton Inn and Suites, shares our organizations focus on sustainability most notably with their proprietary system LightStay. We integrated many innovative technologies into the new build of the Hampton Inn & Suites Tupelo/Barnes Crossing that will make the hotel very efficient and sustainable.”

LightStay is Hilton Worldwide’s proprietary system of sustainability measurement. It calculates sustainability performance across their global portfolio of hotels. LightStay delivers value to hotel owners without any additional cost. The system’s data is used to improve the guest experience and drive economic returns. By December 31, 2011, all 3,600 Hilton Worldwide’s properties will use LightStay. It’s the way we support our commitment to be the first major hospitality company making sustainability measurement a brand standard.

Kana Hotel Group is an award winning Hotel Development & Management Company based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Its current portfolio consists of 20 premium branded hotels across 7 states. The brands in Kana’s portfolio include Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Homewood Suites, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Staybridge Suites and Holiday Inn Express.

EcoGreenHotel supports hotels to identify energy efficient strategies that reduce energy usage and overall environmental impact. It finds the right technologies, products and solutions to deliver the best quality and value for all clients and create energy savings. The company specializes in identifying and taking advantage of incentives, grants, rebates and loan programs that are available through federal, state and local agencies.

Lower Pool Operating Costs With Simple Energy Saving Solution

Hotel swimming pools are generally faced with considerable heating and energy costs. That is an unfortunate but honest observation. Thankfully, there is an easy and cost effective way to reduce the energy usage required to heat your hotel’s pool: a liquid solar pool cover.

The Heatsavr liquid pool cover is a biodegradable solution that is added to your green hotel’s pool water. It will float on the surface of the pool and spread out to cover the entire pool. The barrier it creates helps to slow down evaporation. Evaporative loss accounts for about 70% of heat loss so, by slowing this down, you will keep the water in your pool warmer for a longer period of time.

You will not smell, see, feel or taste the product once it has been added to your pool water as recommended. It will not affect any of your other chemicals, your pool equipment and your clients will not even notice it as they swim. It has been tested and proven by various 3rd party agencies over the past 20 years for its safety and effectiveness.

Thousands of people, hotels and other businesses across the world are using this product; independent energy test results of commercial swimming pools show reduction in operating costs by up to 40%. Since these tests were conducted energy costs have increased significantly, therefore your green hotel would save more as energy prices continue to rise.

Liquid pool covers are also very environmentally friendly. Not only is the product itself biodegradable, butthe end result is conservation. Water is saved. Energy is saved. These savings will also result in lower heating costs, so you will be saving money while you are protecting the environment.


One of the best things about Heatsavr is that it can be automatically dosed into your swimming pool using an automatic metering system. This small, peristaltic pump plumbs into the main return line of your pool and is programmed to dose the appropriate amount of liquid pool cover to your pool each day. You don’t have to do anything beyond changing the bottle of Heatsavr when you notice it is empty.

Heatsavr, the liquid solar pool cover, is truly a set-and-forget solution that can save your hotel a significant amount of money each and every month you are heating the pool. If you want more information on the products please visit Flexible Solutions is the original manufacturer of liquid solar pool covers and they offer the product under the brand name Heatsavr. You can find the liquid pool cover online at EcoGreenHotel Store.


About EcoGreenHotel

EcoGreenHotel (Robbinsville, NJ), is a privately held company specializing solely in the hospitality industry by providing solutions for a broad spectrum of sustainability issues from energy efficiency to online marketing and green hotel products on The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, EcoGreenHotel also provides customized energy solutions tailored to the needs of the hospitality industry including green hotel certification support from LEED, Green Seal to Energy Star and Green Key. For further information, email or call 888-229-0213.

About Author

Monique Nelson is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Flexible Solutions, a publicly traded environmental technology company manufacturing products that save water and energy. A conservationist at heart, you can follow her green-tinged pool industry conversations at her