USGBC Announces Winner of Sustainability Suite Design Competition

Wednesday October 28, 2009
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The results of a recently held competition under the auspices of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the Network of Hospitality Industry (NEWH) were announced last week. The Sustainable Suite Design Competition enabled interior designers to exhibit their vision of best hospitality design strategies with environmental responsibility that still augments guest experience. The competition was aimed at stimulating sustainable practices across the industry among new and existing hotels.

The response was most gratifying with professional designers and aspiring young professionals submitting 65 entries. Every entry typified a new perception of operation and functioning of a high–performance, energy and resource–efficient hospitality suite of the future.

There were three parameters along which the entries were judged were:

  • Design Elements, which included water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, indoor environmental quality and materials and resources.
  • Education which covered guest room attributes and guest practices.
  • Overall design, with emphasis on integrated design approach, innovation and originality and general financial and aesthetic feasibility.

Many of the winning strategies illustrated creative energy-saving features like an "all–off" switch that turned off all lights automatically. The switch operated on Passive Infrared Sensors (PIR) in the room, and a Four–pipe Horizontal Coil system for room conditioning. Another factor that received focus was water usage as a key in reduction of environmental impact. The winning entry incorporated a Trombe wall in the shower for harnessing solar energy to warm the shower water. It also included a gray–water irrigation system that filtered and recycled used shower water to the gardens and landscaping outside.

The winning entry was a design from the team of WATG, a destination design firm which led in the creative design and specification process. The entry was a collaborative effort with IDEO a firm centered round innovation and design who introduced the element of human human–oriented sustainability which is within their field of expertise. Their winning entry was a suite called Haptik, a Greek word referring to interactions stimulated by a sense of touch. The entry was a blend of sustainability and luxury that redefined guest experience without compromise to either ideal. Included in the award is the opportunity for the winning designers to showcase and demonstrate their design at the 2010 Hospitality Design Expo and conference to be held in Las Vegas.

Also reviewed were the Student and Young Professionals' submissions. The winning award went to "Starter Kits", submitted by a team from Parson's New School for Design. Their entry entitled "Front Street Hotel in Brooklyn, New York" retrofitted an existing building as the hotel site. It honored the industrial manufacturing past of the area paying homage to its contemporary, vibrant artistic ambience. On display were the various sustainable elements that included pre–loaded subway fare cards in each room to encourage mass–transit use, the extensive use of salvaged wood and the construction of a green roof; all contributing to an hotel sensitive of ecology and environment.

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