All design starts with a challenge. Traditionally, an interior architects major challenges were space, safety, aesthetics and other facets of creating a livable space. But the last decade has emphasized another for today’s designer: sustainability. As city populations swell and resources dwindle, it is important for todays hotels and condominium communities to be energy efficient and have a minimal impact on the environment – not just for the current generation, but for future generations to come.


Challenge One: Energy

When it comes to energy efficiency, lighting is the first thing that comes to mind. Here, LED’s are making great strides in becoming a popular choice. They are up to 80% more efficient, produce less heat and last longer than traditional bulbs. Todays lighting designers and manufacturers have really stepped up. They are producing beautiful lighting fixtures that use LED’s and technology to give hoteliers ample choices to support any concept they can imagine.

For instance, the 1920’s built Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan has been switching out all their interior and exterior lighting to LED’s. In Dubai, the five-star Grosvenor House Hotel has also joined the sustainability mission – both have experienced significant CO2 and energy cost reductions.

Challenge Two: Water

According to the USGS’s Water Science School, the average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every day. A hotel guest? Even more. Designers have responded with low-tech solutions; sink aerators, low flush toilets and low-flow showerheads are being employed to reduce water use. Sounds like a survivalists bomb shelter? Don’t worry, going green does not mean roughing it.

Los Angeles boutique hotel the Orchard Garden has made sustainability their rallying cry. Not only do they use low-tech bathroom solutions, but they also supply the room with organic bath products for their eco-concerned guests. A nice touch. In Australia’s Lamington National Park, the Binna Burra Mountain Lodge uses low-flow fixtures (among other green tactics) to have the least possible impact on the rainforest. For both hotels, the solution not only helps the environment, but their bottom line as well.


In the near future, sustainability won’t be a checkbox on the project wish list. It will be a requirement. As the call for hotels and living communities to go “green” becomes louder, designers everywhere will be making decisions not only on guest experience, but on how this experience affects the environment.

Photo credits to the hotel (Photo courtesy of…)


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