Overlooking Monterey Bay, the Portola Hotel & Spa is a new green beacon for hotels in California. After a serious eco remodel and overhaul, the long standing hotel has improved its ways and has achieved LEED Silver for Existing Buildings, making it one of only three hotels in California and six across the US to achieve this level of accreditation. Energy efficiency upgrades, remodeling with eco friendly materials, water efficient fixtures and purchasing carbon offsets have all helped the hotel by the shore reduce its environmental impact and make a difference in its local community.
Renovating existing buildings in order to reduce environmental impact can be a daunting task, including a complete overhaul of indoor materials, furnishings, lighting, HVAC systems. Achieving LEED (EB) also includes changing business practices like cleaning and recycling and waste management systems. Portola Hotel’s green renovation included many of these things, including changing their laundry and cleaning practices and purchasing eco friendly office materials as well as guest products. Old furnishings were replaced with organic hypoallergenic mattresses, sheep wool and natural latex carpets, low VOC paints and FSC-certified woods.
Low flow water fixtures were swapped out to conserve water and landscaping was switched to drought tolerant and native species with drip irrigation. Energy efficient lighting upgrades were made throughout the hotel and a new natural gas co-gen system generates power and hot water for the hotel. After the energy efficiency upgrades, the hotel then bought 2 years worth of carbon offsets totaling up to 2,035 metric tons of carbon dioxide and they also encourage guests to buy offsets to reduce the carbon footprint of their stay. The adjacent Monterey Conference Center that works in conjunction with the green hotel is under renovation and also seeking LEED certification.