Maintaining a commitment to sustainability is not always an easy task, but 1 Hotels has found a way to stay true to its mission, using nature as its guide. The latest San Francisco site — followed by Nashville later this summer and the opening of Hanalei Bay in the fall of 2022 — is a testament to that effort, one that requires stringent measures and eco-friendly performance. By creating new green spaces and renovating some of the spaces found in thriving urban neighborhoods, the luxury hotel brand has not only created sustainable havens that beautifully combine form and function, but also uniquely captures the beauty of each area.
The ethos of sustainable design begins with the site
Known as Hawaii’s “Island of Gardens,” Kauai is home to a lush rainforest, covered in tropical greenery and vibrant flowers along gorgeous waterfalls. Perched on the sparkling bay on the sheltered northern shore of Kauai, 1 Hanalei Bay incorporates the rich plant life of the archipelago’s oldest island into every guest room. The hotel, which is due to open later this year, is the result of a complex renovation process – which requires thought and creativity to achieve – with sustainability at the fore. Energy efficiency, water conservation and restoration of the local landscape were the top priority, as well as minimizing the use of new materials to reduce the carbon footprint. “SH Hotels & Resorts [the brand management company that operates 1 Hotels] engaged / engaged Reusing Hawaii, a company that “disassembles” to carefully dismantle (not demolish) and salvage more than 144.6 tons of existing furniture, fixtures and equipment that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill as rubbish, says Raoul Leal, CEO of SH Hotels & Resorts. Rainwater showers, textured wall design elements, reclaimed materials, and organic cotton beds paired with plush pillowtop mattresses complete the vibrant retreat.
in the new San Francisco siteOpening June 1, guests will find farm-to-table cuisine, reclaimed wood accents, and décor featuring live plants and local Northern California-inspired furniture. The urban resort brings elements of the outside world inside via expansive windows with views of the cloudy skyline and San Francisco Bay: “1 Hotel San Francisco was intended to allow guests access to the natural beauty of the bay while positioning themselves in a sustainable public transit and walkable hub,” as Lil says. “The city is incredibly biodiverse and we’ve relied on the local landscape and local produce in our rooftop garden to contribute to the surrounding environment,” adds Lyell.
In the heart of Music City, there is a new addition to the eco-conscious lineup, set to open this summer. as such Nashville The first sustainable luxury hotel driven by a mission, the estate’s neighborhood-loving design brings the rhythms of nature into a complex land regeneration project. It was built on the site of a previously developed brown field, whose owners carefully rid themselves of all pollution before construction began, in order to renovate the land first. The exterior of the hotel features a stepped ivy facade with over 56,000 individual plants that not only provide resistance to the effects of the weather but also capture carbon dioxide and produce new oxygen. Guestroom interiors feature a charming rustic-urban blend, including natural wood textures, muted tones, and furniture inspired by local handicrafts.
Keeping a small footprint means tackling complex challenges
1 Hotel’s commitment to sustainability is the cornerstone of all properties that are built. Every US site is carbon-neutral and 100% LEED certified (the world’s most recognized sustainable building rating system). To achieve this level of environmental feasibility, deliberate efforts must be incorporated into the design process. By reusing materials during renovations and from nearby structures, the designers avoid relying on virgin materials: “Whether it’s the repurposed headboards in South Beach made from Colorado trees killed by the Mountain Pine Beatles, or the wood-built furniture from a sugar mill in Brooklyn Throughout our Brooklyn Bridge property, we’re trying to show that a repurpose can be more luxurious and beautiful than any new piece,” says Lyle.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to these ambitious projects is reducing energy consumption, one of the most important parts of any building’s footprint. “The most challenging element always has to do with the design of the daylight and thermal envelope of the existing building,” says Lyell. By designing each building with daylight in mind and performing a daylight optimization assessment for each new building, architects can rely on natural lighting to conserve energy. “We also include operable windows to allow guests to naturally regulate thermal comfort and bring in fresh air,” adds Lyle.
Other critical efforts in maintaining sustainable building standards include an intelligent BMS system to control HVAC and lighting systems to track direct energy consumption, recycling and reuse of more than 50 percent of construction waste, water-saving fixtures, and relying on indigenous landscapes to support the local environment. “One of the ways we help our guests keep their footprints small is also through our partnership with Audi by offering their all-electric e-cars to take them around town while they visit,” says Leal.
Finding concrete solutions in difficult times
The opening of sustainable hotels in the wake of the pandemic also presented another hurdle: purchasing goods. “Supply chain challenges have really complicated the need to build more sustainable infrastructure in order to meet global climate and biosphere goals,” Lyell says. “Some sustainable partners and suppliers are unable to meet the increasing demand or are delayed to the extent that they may hinder openings or operations.” Overcoming this omnipresent problem across the United States requires thoughtful choices that begin with the design process. The decision, for example, to repurpose an existing building or build more efficient infrastructure that uses sustainable materials requires careful planning. “We rely heavily on our partners to help guide these decisions, and often to be more sustainable, you have to be willing to take on very complex challenges,” Lyell says.
However, local nature remains at the heart of every new design: “Nature informs all our decisions from the site and every step in the development process – the way our guests arrive, leave, sleep, eat, relax and interact with each other, our team and the surrounding area,” says Leil. Deliberately sites where we can bring the local outdoor elements indoors to create an environment infused with nature.” The ethos of sustainable design may begin with the site, but it also requires a sincere commitment to the planet in order to integrate these efforts and implement them with tangible solutions.
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