The Strater Hotel, established in 1887, will begin adding the Energy Star rating, the most recognized national metric for evaluating building energy efficiency, to its Durango, Colorado property. "We believe that with the help of Energy Star our commercial building will continue to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency, which also leads to an increase in the financial value of the property," says Michelle Thom, general manager for the New Strater Corporation.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star-labeled hotels are independently verified to meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the agency. Hotels that have earned the Energy Star perform in the top 25 percent of hotels nationwide, use at least 35 percent less energy and emit at least 35 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than their peers.
As a member of the Historic Hotels of America, the Strater is the only member hotel to achieve this high rating of energy efficiency. "We are thrilled that the Strater Hotel is the first Historic Hotels of America member to receive this very noble award for energy efficiency," says Historic Hotels of America executive director Thierry Roch. "We hope their trailblazing will create opportunities for our more than 220 member hotels to become certified as well."
Meeting Energy Star requirements are not easy for historic hotels to achieve, considering all properties are required to be more than 50 years old to qualify for the historic register. Spearheading the upgrades in energy efficiency were owner, Rod Barker and head of maintenance, Peter Tschannen. "Three years ago we set a goal for the hotel to decrease the size of our carbon footprint and set a new standard for energy efficiency amongst historic hotels," says Thom. "Our property is located in a community that focuses on energy conservation, local-buying preferences and all around green living. As a cornerstone of the Durango historic district, we wanted to meet the needs of our community and of those visitors attracted to the way of life here in Durango.
Much of the energy efficient upgrades include changing light bulbs to low wattage compact fluorescent bulbs, utilizing a large hot water storage tank to preheat water, and changing out windows for ones with an increased R value. Another first includes the use of heated windows in the Strater's fine dining restaurant, The Mahogany Grille. "These heated windows are the first of their kind, detracting from the cold weather outside and allowing the restaurant to use less gas heat to keep the room comfortable," says Tschannen.
To qualify for the Energy Star, a building or manufacturing plant must score in the top 25 percent based on EPA's National Energy Performance Rating System. To determine the performance of a facility, EPA compares energy use among other, similar types of facilities on a scale of 1-100; buildings that achieve a score of 75 or higher may be eligible for the Energy Star. The Strater Hotel achieved a score of 81 out of 100.
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