Joe Hindsley, General Manager of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta  Randy Childers, Facilities Manager of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta  Maria Vargas, Director of the Better Buildings Challenge for the US Department of Energy Lauren Dufort, Director of Sustainability for Central Atlanta ProgressHyatt Receives Inaugural Atlanta Better Building Challenge Award

The Hyatt Regency Atlanta received the inaugural Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge Excellence Award for its successful efforts to reduce energy and water consumption since 2009. Maria Vargas, Director of the Better Buildings Challenge for the US Department of Energy, presented the award on behalf of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge on Wednesday, Nov. 7 during the 10th Annual Downtown Development Day, produced by Central Atlanta Progress.

 

The Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge, which is celebrating its first anniversary, created the Excellence Award to recognize exceptional reductions in energy and water consumption. Three finalists were selected based on their total energy and water savings since 2009 and the successful implementation of reduction strategies that are applicable to other commercial buildings in the city.

“We are impressed with the significant advancements all three finalists made in reducing their energy and water consumption,” said Lauren Dufort, Director of Sustainability for Central Atlanta Progress. “We selected the Hyatt for the effort they made to lower water use at their property as well as their overall reduction in energy and water consumption while facing the challenge of 24/7 hotel operations.”

With operational requirements that depend largely upon guest behavior, hotels frequently struggle in making sustainable reductions in energy and water use. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta rose to these challenges and implemented many initiatives during their recent renovation.

Projects include low-flow toilets and urinals that yield a savings of over 8 million gallons of water per year – an amount equal to 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools – and consolidation of rooms on low-occupancy days to reduce energy consumption. As a result of their commitment to sustainability, the Hyatt realized a 35% reduction in energy and water consumption since 2000.

In addition, the Hyatt has planned improvements including the replacement of chillers and boilers for improved efficiency as well as rainwater reclamation for use in cooling towers and irrigation.

Two other buildings – The Turner Building (133 Luckie St NW) and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (435 Peachtree Street NE) – were also considered for the award.

“Each of these buildings did something important and serve as a catalyst for making Downtown Atlanta a more attractive place to work, live and visit,” Dufort said. “We will always look to the leaders among us. In the case of better building ownership, we will continue to look at The Turner Building and St. Luke’s.”

The Turner Building has been working steadily to conserve energy and water since early 2009. Along with upgrades to low-flow fixtures and aerators in their restrooms, the building owners installed an air conditioning unit condensate water reclamation system that reduces the building’s demand for potable water. During 2010 and 2011, many automated technologies were added to fine-tune the building’s operations based on changes in power demand. Most notably, they installed two large solar PV arrays, which supply the building with an annual power production of 200 thousand kilowatt hours, which is roughly the same amount of power used by 20 average U.S. households annually.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church achieved significant savings in energy and water while minimizing capital expenses. Efficiency upgrades completed to date include installation of building automation controls, replacement of aging HVAC systems, high-performance lighting and controls, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Results are energy savings of 31 percent over a 2009 baseline, or 37 percent energy savings and 42 percent water savings since St. Luke’s began its conservation program in 2006. As a result, the church has saved $64,000 on utility costs each year can be invested in programs that support St. Luke’s mission.