SERA, others take on green purchasing for hotels

The Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium will work on making hotel rooms greener.

The Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium will work on making hotel rooms greener.

SERA Architects has teamed with nine partners, including Marriott International Inc., to form an industry consortium bent on making hotel purchasing more sustainable.

The Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium will take on sustainability concerns in the hotel industry supply chain, tackling everything from toxic ingredients in products to the social impact of hotels in their communities.

The effort is being led by MindClick SGM, a sustainable business consulting firm.

The décor of an average hotel room turns over every five to seven years. And despite the fact that many new hotels are being built to green building standards, the furnishings of the interior of the hotel aren't given the same scrutiny. Hotels spend more than $1 billion a year on furniture, fixtures and equipment.

"The building can be LEED but the furniture, fixtures and equipment, as it's called in the industry, is very rarely looked at," said Lisa Zangerle, director of interior design for SERA and the point person at the Portland-based architecture firm for the new consortium. "People who stay in the rooms are touching, sleeping on and breathing what could be some toxic element."

Zangerle said SERA, which is known for its work on the planned Oregon Sustainability Center, has been working on the issue with some recent renovations of interiors for Marriott in Portland and Denver. But finding recyclable and harmful ingredient-free materials for the rooms proved challenging.

The consortium will help address this problem by amplifying the demand for green products and Zangerle expects the suppliers will be ready to listen.

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