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!

WHO GETS IT?

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.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT?

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.

WHAT QUALIFIES?

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.

HOW DO YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT?

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.

CAN YOU GET PARTIAL 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.

IS AN INSPECTION REQUIRED?

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.

DOES A TAXPAYER NEED TO FILE A REPORT WITH THEIR TAX RETURN?

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.

HOW IS THIS TREATED FOR GOVERNMENT PROJECTS?

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.

WHEN DO YOU CLAIM IT?

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.

IS IT A “CREDIT” OR A DEDUCTION?

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.

DOES IT REDUCE BASIS?

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

WHAT IS THE COST OF CERTIFICATION?

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 gotomeeting.com. 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, www.EcoGreenHotel.com. The company also runs an online marketplace for green products and services at www.EcoGreenHotelStore.com. 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 info@EcoGreenHotel.com or call 888-229-0213.

 

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NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. Evolve Guest Controls is currently installinga fully integrated energy management control system with back office network connectivity in all of the Radisson LAX’s580 guestrooms and suites.

Evolve’s EMS system controls all of the lighting in the room, the TV(s), and the HVAC. When the Radisson was prompted with the question of whether to go with Evolve’s active energy management platform or passive PIR based platform, they opted to choose Evolve’s active energy management approach, which engages the guest to participate in being “green” while they travel by using a wireless keycard reader to determine guest room occupancy.

When the guest enters their room, they insert their keycard into Evolve’s wall-mounted keycard reader and the room activates “comfort” mode. When the guest leaves the room, they take their keycard with them, initiating the room’s “energy efficient” mode whereby all the lighting devices and TV(s) are powered down, and the thermostat is set back 5 degrees.

In addition to Evolve’s standalone EMS system, Evolve is deployingits EvolveNET back office control system as well.  EvolveNET is a hotel facing back office platform that gives hotel engineering, front desk, housekeeping full control over all evolve devices from a web based platform.  Some of the features include:  global or selective thermostat set point changes, seasonal adjustments to thermostat setback band, PMS integration for deeper setback ranges and guest preference pulls, occupancy reports of each guest room, alarms and device malfunction/battery alerts, real time energy monitoring, and more.

“While the standalone Evolve system will save the hotel 25-40% on overall guest room utility costs,the addition of EvolveNET will not only provide the property with further energy savings, but a dramatic informational improvement in overall operational efficiency. ” says Jesse Nercessian, Operations Manager of Evolve.

About Evolve Guest Controls:

Evolve Guest controls is a leading global manufacturer of in-room technology, lighting controls, room automation, and EMS for the hospitality industry.  We passionately develop innovative products of the highest quality that enrich the stay of hotel guests while reducing each property’s carbon footprint.

Hoteliers can expect a 25%-40% savings on their guest room energy costs with an approximate ROI of 2 years. Evolve’s versatile solutions have been installed in hotels ranging from 28 rooms to as large as 2,700 rooms, and they qualify nationally for federal and state energy efficiency rebates.
Website: http://www.eguestcontrols.com
E-mail: info@eguestcontrols.com

Contacts
Evolve Guest Controls, Inc.
Chris Pieper,Sales/Marketing Manager
516-448-1862
chris@eguestcontrols.com

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admin on January 30th, 2012

Reducing the utility expense line

It’s the time of the year again when the hospitality industry is set a buzz because of one word:  Numbers.  Budget season is in full swing for 2012, and in meetings across the country skilled professionals are seeking ways to increase profitability and reduce costs in the year ahead.  Choices are everywhere.  Can we reduce our labor costs?  Can we decrease our operating expenses?  The answer is a simple and resounding “yes” focus on hotel energy savings.

Energy reduction technologies and strategies will reduce labor, energy and utility expenses.  The cost reduction in these areas can positively affect P&L statements in 2012 and beyond.  A change in the way a hotel utilizes energy is one of many sustainability initiatives that can reduce wasteful spending and increase bottom line revenue.

Energy purchasing in de-regulated markets

In states where the monopoly system of electricity providers has been de-regulated, a retail scenario has emerged with numerous competing firms that provide renewable energy options from the supply side.  In these markets, competitive pricing among suppliers can provide an increased cost savings in addition to any incentives they may offer.  By focusing attention on renewable energy sources, the overall carbon footprint of a single hotel can be drastically reduced.  A renewable energy evaluation can provide solutions that will not only reduce your cost per kWh but also procure your energy with a provider producing energy through a renewable source.

In markets where de-regulated energy options are available, commercial consumers of these utilities benefit from increased competitiveness and transparency.  What’s the bottom line? Competition is good and the savings can be substantial.  Though not available in every marketplace, the options for renewable energy are increasing each year.

Perhaps the most appealing facet of energy procurement is that it has ZERO out of pocket cost.  This is an easy, affordable transition that can translate into both utility cost reduction as well as your company’s own sustainability initiative.

 

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admin on January 11th, 2012

Blue skies and rolling mountains aren’t the only appealing local attractions in the great state of Tennessee.  Not only are the fields and tree-tops green, but the local options for increasing energy efficiency and introducing hotel energy savings are as well.

The green movement toward environmental responsibility has spawned numerous Federal, State and local programs aimed at reducing energy consumption and waste.  For hotels aiming to positively reduce their energy usage impact, Tennessee offers a host of programs designed specifically to assist businesses in becoming leaner and greener operations.

Low-Interest financing Energy Efficient Loans

In a time when the bottom line expenditures of any hotel are monitored extremely closely, many businesses may be interested in retrofitting their organization with more energy efficient technologies.  In Tennessee, a state-wide program offers eligible businesses with the opportunity to offset the initial costs of such changes with low-interest energy efficiency loans.

Under this program, financing rates from 3%-5% are available to Tennessee business owners to conduct alterations to their facilities in order to reduce cost and save on energy consumption.  Eligibility requirements vary based on business type; however these programs afford a less expensive option to take advantage of several energy-reducing technologies such as:

  • LED Lighting upgrades
  • Refrigeration Efficiency
  • Ozone Solutions
  • Occupancy-Based Energy Management Systems
  • Hot Water Boiler Management Systems
  • Liquid Pool Blanket
  • Recycling and Waste Management

With these loan programs, rates are fixed at below-market value values to maximize return for the applicant.  Worried about up-front costs?  These loans have NO out-of-pocket expenses or hidden fees.  Not only that, but you can receive up to 100% financing for your project.  Imagine being able to include all of the design, engineering and implementation costs of your project within the terms of the loan!  The savings here alone are amazing and immediate.  Once completed, the energy savings from your technology upgrade begin repaying the value of the loan from day one.

 

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By Scott Parisi

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.

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By John King

There have been some positive developments with Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs and hoteliers can now take advantage of this financing alternative.
There is an “A Minus” program for those who have returned to profitability after previous losses and another lending program that enables hoteliers to acquire or build multiple properties even if they are out of SBA eligibility. (Hint: it’s a “green” thing).

 

“A MINUS” HOTEL LOAN PROGRAM

The “A Minus” SBA 504 Loan is a new portfolio program for hoteliers who have survived the recession. The program is targeted at hoteliers who had previous losses, but turned a profit in 2010 and have continued to do well in 2011. Benefits of the SBA 504 Loan includes:

  • Low rates, fixed for 20 years (for second mortgage; rates change monthly, current at 5.63%)
  • No balloon payments
  • Only 10 percent equity requirement
  • 504 Loan can be combined with SBA “Green Loans” for more funding

If you are considering implementing sustainable initiatives such as energy efficiency, sustainable design, or “green retrofit” to your building project or expansion, the combination of the 504 and Green Loan program can increase the amount of your loan dramatically.

Basic SBA 504 hotel loan program details:

  • Loan to Value (LTV): Up to 90% combined LTV (50% first mortgage, 40% second).
  • Loan amount: $1-12 million
  • “Ideal” loan: Limited or full service, flagged hotel (no motels) in primary or secondary market with loan amount in the $2-5 million range.
  • STAR reports: Must show positive trends
  • Occupancy: No specific minimum occupancy, but transaction must cash flow
  • Rates: First mortgage: Three year fixed currently in mid 7’s (adjustable thereafter) with 25-year amortization. Five year fixed also available. Second mortgage is currently 5.63% fixed for 20 years.

*The SBA 504 Refinance program has not been a success since it is currently restrictive, but the “word on the street” is that it will be expanded in the next few months (possibly 30 days) to allow business debt consolidation, property improvements and renovations.

For those who cannot qualify for the 504 Loan program, you may want to consider an SBA 7a Loan that can be used for any legitimate business purpose and has a maximum loan amount of $5 million.

GET MORE ELIGIBILITY BY GOING GREEN

If your are considering on purchasing, constructing, remodeling, refinancing or renovating, adding sustainability solutions into your projects may qualify you for the SBA Green 504 Loan program.

The SBA Green 504 Loan isn’t really a new program, but there is a little known guideline that allows hoteliers (or others) to acquire or build multiple hotel properties regardless of whether they have any remaining SBA eligibility – as long as the new building is at least 10 percent more energy efficient than their current property or properties.

In other words, you can purchase multiple hotel even if you are out of SBA eligibility if you run an energy efficient hotel. This is a big deal in the current tight credit environment given that most lenders will not lend on a hotel without some type of government guarantee. Benefits of the SBA Green lending program include:

  • Removes the maximum $5 million SBA eligibility limit per borrower
  • Hoteliers can acquire, build or possibly refinance multiple facilities using the maximum amount of SBA financing of $5.5  million for each project (keep in mind, $5.5 million is the amount of the second mortgage guaranteed by SBA)
  • The 504 is long term fully amortized financing at below market rates.
  • You can use the 504 program to finance renewable and green energy equipment.

How to qualify for the SBA Green Loan

The easiest way to qualify is to acquire or construct a building that uses 10% less energy on a per square foot basis than your existing building. It is important to remember that the 10% reduction is in energy consumption not dollars saved on lower utility bills.

Qualifying examples assuming you currently own or lease:

  • You can qualify if you lease or own a building now and finance another building that is 10% more energy efficient than the building you are currently leasing.
  • You can qualify if you lease a building now and you decide to purchase it and make energy efficient improvements that cut your energy consumption by 10%. This could be as simple as conducting a thorough Energy Efficiency Analysis.
  • You can also qualify if you lease or own a building now and you build a new facility that is 10% more energy efficient.

Qualifying if you do not own or lease a building now:

Another way to qualify for the Green 504 is to acquire or build a new building that produces enough of it’s own renewable energy to cut it’s energy consumption based upon what it would have been without the improvements.

If you do not own a building currently and have no baseline for energy consumption then SBA requires that you produce enough of your own energy to cut your consumption by the required 10% since you do not have an existing building to benchmark against.

You can produce the energy multiple ways using any of the common sources of renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) and the costs of installation can be included in the loan amount.

About Author

John King is President of Green Commercial Capital. He specializes in educating clients about SBA loan options and connecting them with lenders who are actually lending. You can visit his company’s website at:  www.greencommercialcapital.com and blog www.sba504blog.com.

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Oakland, CA (June 6, 2011) – The Homewood Suites Oakland Waterfront is doing its part to be part of the solution. It is only the second hotel in Oakland to earn the Energy Star certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).This is the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. Operated by Kupuna Hospitality Management, hotel recently engaged EcoGreenHotel, a hotel energy solution based firm, to perform an energy efficiency analysis and outline a sustainability plan that included an Energy Star Benchmarking

Homewood Suites Oakland Waterfront improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically and making cost-effective improvements to its building. The hotel property scored 43 points higher than the average hotel and 18 points higher than the Energy Star requirements. This achievement ranks the green hotel in the top 7 percent of similar buildings. Additionally, with this score, the Homewood Suites Oakland Waterfront has even exceeded the energy efficiency pre requisite for the US Green Building Council’s LEED Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM) certification.

The Homewood Suites implemented occupancy based energy management systems in all 132-guest rooms. All HVAC and refrigeration equipment is maintained for optimal efficiency through Kupuna Hospitality’s Preventative Maintenance Planner. The entire building is outfitted with high efficiency lighting. Storage rooms and other areas that are infrequently occupied have timers or occupancy sensors to control lighting when rooms are not in use. With the assistance of EcoGreenHotel, the Homewood Suites is reviewing additional energy conservation measures that include window film to reduce the solar thermal gain, ozone laundry technology as well as a boiler management system to reduce the natural gas usage for the property. As part of the E2A Program (Energy Efficiency Analysis), the property is also evaluating renewable energy options including solar PV, solar thermal and cogeneration.

“We are always looking for ways to reduce energy use by upgrading inefficient equipment and finding ways for existing equipment to run more efficiently,” said Rick Gabrielsen, President and CEO of Kupuna Hospitality.“Through monthly energy monitoring, reporting and comparisons to historical data, we will ensure that the Homewood Suites operates at high energy efficiency and is eligible to earn the Energy Star label each year.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging people to travel green while on the road this summer, and choosing hotels that have earned EPA’s Energy Star is a great place to start. Energy Star labeled hotels are independently verified to meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by EPA. Green hotels that have earned the Energy Star perform in the top 25 percent of hotels nation wide, use at least 35 percent less energy and emit at least 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions (carbon footprint) than their peers – making an environmentally friendly lodging choice a snap when planning a summer vacation.

“Hotel’s have historically been huge consumers of natural resources. That’s why it’s important for us [general managers] to recognize the opportunities for conservation and energy savings. Not only are travelers expecting a great experience, but they’re also looking to minimize their carbon footprint,” said the Homewood Suites Oakland Waterfront’s General Manager, Jason Olivares.“The Energy Star label for our hotel is just the first reflection of our efforts. Our green team is constantly looking for ways to lesson our impact on the bay area’s resources.”

The green lodging industry spends more than $7.5 billion on energy each year. Reducing energy use by 10 percent across the industry could save $750 million and help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 6 million tons annually. Energy Star partners, such as EcoGreenHotel Energy Solutions,work with hundreds of owners and managers of hotels across the country to help strategically manage energy performance, cut energy use, lower utility bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.²

For more information about ENERGY STAR visit www.energystar.gov.

About Homewood Suites Oakland Waterfront
The Homewood Suites by Hilton® Oakland-Waterfront sustainable hotel is located on the Estuary and Marina in Oakland, CA. 60% of the suites and studios in this lovely three-story designed hotel offer views of the marina. This Green Certified Hotel is located conveniently off I-880, providing excellent access to San Francisco and San Jose at 1103 Embarcadero, Oakland, California. To make hotel reservation, visit http://oaklandgreenhotels.com or call 510-663-2700.About Kupuna Hospitality
Kupuna Hospitality offers complete management services to hotel owners, providing competitive fees with balance in operational quality to enhance profitability. Financial performance of the properties is the barometer for our success. Owners understand that consistently providing guests with an excellent product and exceptional service at a premium price is essential to being profitable.In addition to property management, Kupuna Hospitality provides hotel owners and investors a full complement of hospitality and business services.

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 www.EcoGreenHotelStore.com. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, www.EcoGreenHotel.com. EcoGreenHotel also 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 further information, email info@EcoGreenHotel.com or call 888-229-0213.

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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 http://www.liquidpoolcovers.com. 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 www.EcoGreenHotelStore.com. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, www.EcoGreenHotel.com. 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 info@EcoGreenHotel.com 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 http://liquidpoolcovers.snappages.com/expert-blog.htm.

Source: EcoGreenHotel

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What are the requirements?

  • Most reduce total annual energy and power costs with respect to the interior lighting, systems, heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water systems by 50%, but partial deductions are allowed
  • Energy simulation is required to justify the deduction
  • Inspection and testing must be completed by a qualified engineer or contractor registered in the jurisdiction

How much is the deduction?

  • Maximum deduction – $1.80 per ft2 equals 50% reduction in total annual energy and power costs (compared to a reference building that meets the minimum requirements of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001); not to exceed the amount equal to the cost of energy efficient commercial building property placed in service during the taxable year
  • Partial deduction – $0.60 per square foot = 16 2/3% reduction for building envelope, HVAC and service hot water systems and lighting
  • Partial deduction (interim lighting) – $0.30 – $0.60 per ft2 = 25 – 40% reduction in lighting power density (50% in case of warehouse)

What qualifies?

  • Current full set of architectural plans that includes all specifications and cut sheets for renovations
  • Energy compliance documents for lighting, HVAC and envelope (Title 24 or IECC), if applicable
  • EnergyPro File – computer file use to generate T-24 documentation (optional)
  • A contact person and phone number

What do I get from a 179D review?

  • FTD certificate package – requires documentation for energy deduction
  • Provide review of existing T-24 or IECC to verify compliance with current code requirements
  • Commercial buildings, such as green hotels, 20,000 sq ft or larger
  • Apartments, four+ stories, for lease
  • Commercial energy renovations
Who qualifies for the deduction?

  • Commercial building owner (hotel owners) or leaseholder paying for the improvements
  • Public buildings – the hotel owner may allocate the deduction to the designer (architect, engineer, contractor, environmental consultant or energy services provider) for the tax year that includes date that property is place in service

What is the time frame for eligibility?

  • Units must be completed or renovated after December 31, 2005 but before December 31, 2013

What is needed from the builder?

  • Review building lighting, HVAC and envelope systems for Federal Tax Deduction qualification
  • Contract for analysis and certification documentation

How do I claim the deduction?

  • The deduction is taken on the “Other Deductions” line of the taxpayer’s return
  • Tax returns may be amended going back three consecutive tax years or go back to 2006 using 3115 form

For questions or a benefit proposal, please contact:

Chris Lewis, Director of Energy Solutions
Tel 888.229.0213 Ext. 803 | Fax 888.229.0213 www.ecogreenhotel.com |
www.ecogreenhotel.co.uk

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 www.EcoGreenHotelStore.com. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, www.EcoGreenHotel.com. 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 info@EcoGreenHotel.com or call 888-229-0213.

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admin on May 31st, 2011

Hotel owners that recognize the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) of the companies that consume room nights in the markets will ultimately shift share. This RFP season will offer even more proof of that. Companies like Deloitte and Johnson & Johnson will continue to blaze the trail. The hotel brands are already recognizing this and have been busy implementing corporate sustainability policies.

One way, for you to determine your CO² emissions is to utilize EPA’s (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) tool, Portfolio Manager, from the Energy Star website. This process requires collection and input of your hotel’s utility data as well as some basic information about the building and its use. Energy Star Portfolio Manager calculates your hotel building’s greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) from on-site fuel combustion and purchased electricity to district heating and cooling. In addition, it enables tracking of avoided emissions from any Renewable Energy Certificates.

Energy Benchmarking can assist management to see how their hotel property’s carbon emissions compare to others in the same region and across the country as well as measure their progress in reducing emissions. These emissions factors are consistent with those used by major greenhouse gas reporting protocols, including theWorld Business Council for Sustainable Development Greenhouse Gas Protocol. This consistency makes it easier for organizations to quantify their carbon inventories and provides a transparent corporate accounting, inventory, and reporting method. Therefore, a very useful tool when it comes time for those carbon emission questions for RFP season.

Although this tool is available at no cost, you should expect to spend about 6 to 10 hours getting everything loaded manually if this is your first time using the tool. The time depends on the number of utility meters and months you’ll be uploading to establish the baseline.[For more information or assistance with registering your hotel in Portfolio Manager contact EcoGreenHotel at info@ecogreenhotel.com or call 888.229.0213 ext. 803].

As an Energy Star Partner, EcoGreenHotel has benchmarked the energy performance for hundreds of thousands of hotel property square footage across the country using Portfolio Manager, LightStay and Green Engage, which help access and strategize for your hotel energysavings. Any hotel property can efficiently track and manage resources through the use of Portfolio Manager. The tool allows you to streamline your portfolio’s energy and water data, and track key consumption, performance, and cost information portfolio-wide.

The methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions in Portfolio Manager was designed to be consistent with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and is compatible with the accounting, inventory and reporting requirements of EPA’s Climate Leaders program, as well as other state and NGO registry and reporting programs.

Resource: Energy Star

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 www.EcoGreenHotelStore.com. The company provides information, tools, checklists, current news and trends to the hospitality industry through its website, www.EcoGreenHotel.com. 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 info@EcoGreenHotel.com or call 888-229-0213.

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