Study: LEED Certification Boosts Hotel Revenue

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When hotels receive LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, the environment benefits. But so do hotels, according to Cornell University, which yesterday published the results of a new study by researchers at the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the university's School of Hotel Administration.

Titled "The Impact of LEED Certification on Hotel Performance," CHR's study compared the performance of 93 LEED-certified U.S. hotels to that of 514 comparable competitors and found that LEED-certified hotels achieved "superior" financial performance.

"The hotel industry has embraced environmental sustainability and several hotels have registered for or earned 'green' certification under the LEED program," study co-author Rohit Verma, a professor at the School of Hotel Administration, said in a statement. "But LEED … is really aimed at controlling costs by limiting resource use. So, the question was whether there also is a revenue benefit from LEED. We found that the answer is, absolutely yes."

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000, the LEED program gives commercial buildings a scorecard for meeting standards in environmental sustainability. Properties are scored in areas such as location and transportation, materials and resources, and water and energy efficiency. The more points a building receives, the higher its certification level -- Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

As recently as fall 2013, there were 235 LEED-certified hotels around the world, and another 1,381 LEED-registered hotels (hotels pursuing certification but not yet certified).


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