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A joint team of destination design firm WATG and design firm IDEO took first prize in the inaugural Sustainable Suite Design Competition, sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, the American Society of Interior Designers and NEWH. The competition asked interior designers to showcase their best hospitality design strategies that boast environmental sustainability.

Each of the 65 competition submissions aims to define how a high-performance, energy-and-resource-efficient hotel suite should look and function. Submissions were judged on three categories: design elements (water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality); education (guest room attributes and guest practices); and overall design (integrated design approach, originality and innovation, general aesthetic, and financial feasibility).

The winning design, Haptik, focused on offering a multi-sensory experience. Prior to checking in, guests send the hotel their preferred lighting levels and room temperature, and are greeted by a local gift bag, a canvas bag filled with information on local restaurants and attractions as well as a reusable water bottle. The suite is designed with energy-efficient LEDs, low-flow bathroom fixtures, automatic sensors of the bathroom faucets, and a trombe water wall that uses solar energy to preheat shower water. Other elements include an FSC-certified wood floor, a mattress made from recycled steel springs and soy foam, zero VOC paint and low-VOC furniture.

In regards to energy use, the room is designed to be conditioned by a four-pipe horizontal fan-coil system, which is shut down by an intelligent thermostat if the Nana Wall in the design is open to the outdoors. The thermostat also is meant to control the room so that if it is not rented, the temperature is set back 5 F to conserve energy. If the rented room becomes unoccupied, passive infrared sensors adjust the thermostat as well. An energy efficient central plant holds air-cooled chillers, domestic hot water reheats, and condensing-style boilers, while PV rooftop panels on the hotel are meant to supplement the energy supply. Power density exceeds ASHRAE Standard 90.1.2004.

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Focusing on water, the low-flow show head uses 1.75 gallons per minute (gpm), instead of the 2.3 gpm baseline of the EPAct of 1992, while low-flow faucets use 1 gpm vs. the 2.2 gpm baseline. The toilets feature pressure-lite technology and use one gallon per flush, while water from the shower is recycled to irrigate the outdoor garden and landscape.