|When Goodman Realty Group (Albuquerque, N.M.) set out to revitalize Hotel Andaluz (Albuquerque) in 2005, the company had visions of environmental sustainability, as well as luxury designed with a nod to the modern Andalucía Region of Spain. Originally built in 1939 by Conrad Hilton as Hotel La Posada de Albuquerque, the city’s oldest and only historic hotel was purchased by Goodman in 2005. The company immediately closed the hotel and invested $30 million in upgrades that it says make Hotel Andaluz the “greenest” boutique hotel in the U.S. Southwest. In September, the hotel received the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association (West Hills, Calif.) and Hospitality Design magazine’s “Lifestyle Hotel of the Year” award.|
|The entrance to Hotel Andaluz (Albuquerque), a historic hotel remodeled with sustainable features. Photo courtesy of Ramona Willis d'Viola/ilumus photography. Click for larger image.|
Several key water conservation features at the hotel save upwards of 13,200 m3
(3.5 million gal) of water per year. The company is seeking the U.S. Green Business Council (Washington, D.C.) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status for the hotel. Located in a water-strapped region, this water savings is an impressive figure that commands attention.
“Our owner, Gary Goodman, has always been passionate about sustainability,” said Darin Sand, LEED Accredited Professional coordinator, noting that Goodman has considered the environmental impacts of its projects since the 2001 installation of an underground closed-loop thermal cooling system at its headquarters. “We also are keenly aware of the need to conserve water in the high-desert Southwest,” he said. “As such, water conservation is always on our mind.”Going for LEED Gold
|Water conservation measures at Hotel Andaluz go beyond polite cards suggesting that guests minimize towel use and forgo having linens changed daily.|
Each guest room features 7.6-L/min (2-gal/min) oxygen-assisted low-flow shower heads that mix oxygen with water for a fuller shower feel and dual-flush toilets, which reduce water use by more than 45% annually, according to Sand.
Sand said that first, obvious water-saving fixtures were installed — guest showers, faucets fitted with 5.7-L/min (1.5-gal/min) low-flow aerators, and toilets — and then the company added a sustainable solar–thermal system that heats the hotel’s guest rooms, public restrooms, kitchens, and laundry facilities.
For the upgrades, Goodman received a $200 rebate per toilet and an $8 rebate per showerhead, totaling a $23,000 credit on the hotel’s water bill. New Mexico also offers corporate tax credits for solar energy.
|A solar–thermal system and water-saving features including dual-flush toilets are key “green” features in Hotel Andaluz. Photo courtesy of Ramona Willis d'Viola/ilumus photography. Click for larger images. |
Since the 107-room hotel reopened in November 2009, it has used an average of 1049 m3
/mo (277,092 gal/mo). Compare that to the 3508 m3
/mo (926,730 gal/mo) used by the same property before its renovation, and Hotel Andaluz appears to be a water steward.
However, Brent White, water conservation analyst for Southwest Florida Water Management District, considered Hotel Andaluz’s key features and said some of the savings are average, compared to the benchmarks he uses for hotels ranging in size from 6 to 900 rooms. He concluded that while Hotel Andaluz’s “savings are achievable with the application of water-conserving best management practices and careful management and monitoring of all major uses,” the real savings are due to the dual-flush toilets.
“The toilets have contributed a great deal to the savings,” Sand said. “They use [3 L] 0.8 gal of water for a half flush and [6 L] 1.6 gal for a full flush. There have not been any complaints about toilet clogs or problems.”Block Steward
Further adding to the list of sustainable features, the hotel manages a comprehensive recycling program, which has carried over to other businesses on the block. “We are the ones leading the program; no other city block is doing this,” Sand said.
|Additionally, the hotel has a full set of brand-new dual-pane, low emissivity, energy-efficient windows that conform to historic preservation requirements. And instead of plastic water bottles, the hotel provides a tap-water filter system for its restaurant, Lucia, and rooftop club, Ibiza.|
Coordinating Irrigation and Cistern Space
Goodman installed a drip irrigation system for its landscape, which, in downtown Albuquerque, is limited to six trees lining its street front and indoor potted plants. But the company has other ideas, such as installing cisterns to take the hotel’s water conservation program even farther.
To capture runoff from Hotel Andaluz’s 576-m2 (6200-ft2) roof, Goodman is installing three 9460-L (2500-gal) cisterns in the adjacent city-owned garage and creating a new irrigation source.
|A view of the lobby of Hotel Andaluz, the self-proclaimed “greenest” boutique hotel in the U.S. Southwest. Photo courtesy of Ramona Willis d'Viola/ilumus photography. Click for larger image.|
At first, adding cisterns seemed like an easy way to acquire LEED points, Sand said. However, “the rainwater capture is a challenge, because we are located on an established downtown city block,” he said. “Finding a location for the [cisterns] required some thinking. … It has taken coordination with the City of Albuquerque.”
This latest step is worth following through, Sand added. It represents “how far we can go with our downtown property” in achieving one of LEED’s highest standards, he said. The cistern system is expected to be operating before the end of the year.