• The Orchard Garden Hotel & Orchard Hotel
  • The Orchard Garden Hotel & Orchard Hotel
  • The Orchard Garden Hotel & Orchard Hotel
  • Orchard Garden Hotel & Orchard Hotel

Orchard Garden Hotel AND Orchard Hotel

Boy do we have a treat for you this month. Normally there’s only room In the Limelight for one hotel each month, but with our exciting move to EcoVision Sustainable Learning Center, we’ve decided to highlight two incredibly sustainable hotels: The Orchard Garden Hotel and Orchard Hotel. These two sister hotels, located in the sustainable hub of San Francisco, share a heartfelt commitment to sustainability and have made strides toward improving energy efficiency, making use of sustainable building materials, and doing just about anything else possible to promote our environment.

A Living Legacy of Sustainability

One thing that makes these two hotels especially special is how they were conceived. The founders of these hotels, the Huang Family, after losing two of its members to cancer, decided to construct hotels that would combat the carcinogens that brought cancer to their family. With that goal in mind, these hotels were designed to be as environmentally friendly and toxic free as possible. Each hotel demonstrates the power of sustainable hospitality, and serves as a loving and living tribute to these family members.

Keeping Energy in Check

Both the Orchard Garden Hotel and the Orchard Hotel have made tremendous strides toward reducing the amount of energy used by staff and guests. The Orchard Garden Hotel has made use of a guestroom automation system. Through this system, each guest room’s lights and room systems are turned on when a guest uses their key card, and automatically turned off when a guest leaves and removes their key card.  Still need to recharge one of your electronic devices? The system smartly allows an outlet to remain on so devices can be left to recharge even after exiting the room!  With smart energy technology like this, the hotel has seen energy use be reduced by 20% and a return-on-investment received within 2 years.

Each hotel has also taken the initiative to replace all their light fixtures to halogen, compact fluorescent, or LED bulbs, helping them become Energy Star Rated. Additionally, the Orchard Garden Hotel recently installed motion sensors on their stairway lights which keep these lights at 5% illumination when one is present, but provide full illumination for five minutes when motion is detected. This, too, has reduced the hotel’s costs, and with the help of a rebate from the local utility (PG&E), has proved to be a worthwhile investment.

And let us not forget about hot water, one of the largest culprits of energy costs for a hotel. By turning down the temperature on their hot water tanks 40 degrees, these hotels have saved about $1,000 a month on energy costs!  And more importantly, they haven’t received one guest complaint about the change.

Building Green

When it comes to building green, these hotels take a backseat to no one, especially in San Francisco. In 2006, the Orchard Garden Hotel earned LEED certification, becoming the first hotel in San Francisco to earn such distinction and only the fourth in the entire U.S.  The Orchard Hotel joined these ranks in 2009, earning certification for an existing building. At this time, the Orchard Garden Hotel is in the process of re-certifying their LEED status, ensuring that they remain on the cutting edge of green building. Some of their green building features include:

  • Only using Forest Stewardship Council certified wood.
  • Including fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal, as an ingredient in concrete used for construction.
  • Taking the effort to reuse and recycle construction waste instead of sending waste to landfills.
  • Utilization of recycled textiles, including polyester, in all fabrics to reduce chemicals in both the fabrics themselves and in cleaning those materials.
  • Use of only low-flow faucets and toilets.

Planting Trees

Perhaps the most sustainable thing these two hotels do comes from their partnership with Plant a Billion Trees. Each time someone posts a review of either of these hotels on TripAdvisor, whether good or bad, the hotel plants a tree in the Brazilian Amazon.  So far, these hotels have been responsible for planting 4,000 trees through this program, so make sure you write a review when you visit either of these hotels. It will be put to good use.

The Orchard Garden Hotel and the Orchard Hotel may have been born out of tragedy, but their commitment to sustainability make these hotels a tremendous ongoing legacy that is not only impacting the environment, but is setting the sustainability bar for hotels around the world.  Without a doubt, this makes these hotels quite fitting of a spot In the Limelight. Good thing our Limelight has room enough for two!

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David Thurnau

Community Relations at Community Green Energy
David Thurnau has a background in political science, municipal government, and agriculture with an emphasis in environmental issues.

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