Suburban hotel sets standard for sustainability

Friday, November 27th, 2009

By William Olson

Developer: Calamos Real Estate LLC Development
Architect: Lohan Associates, LLC

Although most suburban development in the Chicago region has spurred on automobile-dependent urban sprawl and contributed to runaway greenhouse gas emissions, Naperville, Illinois—one of America’s quintessential edge cities—is now home to one of the nation’s models of hotel sustainability.

Renowned as the State of Illinois’ first LEED certified hotel, Hotel Arista, combines sustainability with an AAA four-diamond rating, offering a lodging experience that provides its guests a taste of luxury without compromising their environmental consciousness. According to Jeffrey Wardlaw, Hotel Arista’s General Manager, the chief aim of the hotel is to “provide their guests an unparalleled eco-sensitive standard without taking away from the guest experience.”

Developed by Calamos Real Estate LLC Development and designed by Chicago-based Lohan Associates LLC, Hotel Arista consists of 144 guestrooms, 10,000 square feet of meeting space, and is nearing completion of a 12,000 square-foot fitness center and spa. The hotel includes an on-site restaurant, SugarToad, and serves as the focal point of CityGate Centre, a one million square-foot mixed-use lifestyle center.

Going green at Hotel Arista took a mix of sustainable construction practices and sensible design features. A full three-fourths of the waste created during the site’s construction was recycled and building materials produced locally were favored. To capture natural light, window positioning played a key role in the hotel’s design, which composed 75 percent of the project’s total light source. Atop the hotel is a state-of-the art white roof. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has proselytized a way to help halt the rise of the roof’s temperature. Even the hotel’s restaurant keeps it green by harvesting from the 300 square-foot garden maintained on the premises.

Mechanically, the hotel is equipped with low-flow and dual-flush toilets throughout all guestrooms. A programmable and computerized HVAC system saves energy by smart technologies that cut power in vacant rooms. Moreover, motion detectors are distributed throughout the hotel to call on power only when needed, and only LED lights are used indoors. In total, the hotel uses an estimated 30 percent less water and 20 percent less electricity than comparable hotels.

There are also a number of less tech-savvy amenities offered, including guestroom windows that open, recycled carpeting, and a comprehensive recycling program that recycles on behalf of guests who ‘drop the green ball’. And of course, guests have the option of whether they would like their linens washed.

Perhaps the most innovative of green thinking undertaken by the hotel is its stingy approach to paper waste. Instead of housing bulky phone books, magazines bloated with coupons, or folders full of hotel menus, each guestroom is equipped with a Cisco I.P. Phone that has touch-screen capabilities to view maps, city guides, weather, room bills, and menus.

For those who need a shuttle to a local restaurant or retailer, the hotel supplies transportation via a battery-electric G.E.M. car, an emissions-free alternative to Chicago’s choking taxi fleet. There is even a bike rack in the parking garage. And finally, in addition to its general approach to sustainability, Hotel Arista shoulders a community responsibility as well, donating all of its paper waste to a local kennel and its unused soaps and shampoos to a local charity.

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