Big Announcements This Week Involve Chicago, Fort Lauderdale Projects

7/20/2012 By Glenn Hasek

There were two significant announcements in the news this past week. The first one is that a zero carbon emissions multi-hotel complex and convention center is being planned for near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The Chicago Convention Center development promises to be the world’s first zero carbon LEED Platinum convention center complex. Stay tuned for more details on this project. At press time the developer was out of the country and could not be reached.

The second announcement involves the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and its six 40-foot wind turbines. The owner of the hotel, Costa Dorada Associates, Miami, will spend about $500,000 for the turbines that will each generate 32,000 kWh of electricity. The turbines, oval shaped with intertwining blades, will sit on the roof of the 375-key property. In the event of an approaching hurricane, the turbines can be folded down.

I spoke with Andreas Ioannou, general manager of the hotel, and he told me installation will begin in September with completion expected by the end of the year. Initially, Costa Dorada Associates considered street-level wind turbines. They are still in the company’s plans but may not be constructed for two or three years. Next year solar panels will be added to the roof of the hotel. Once the solar panels and wind turbines are up and running, the hotel could approach 25 percent renewable energy for its electricity supply.

A Rare Industry Achievement

What Costa Dorada Associates is doing is groundbreaking for a city the size of Fort Lauderdale. To my knowledge, there are no other larger-city hotels in the United States with wind turbines (see our current list of wind powered properties). I know that owners of hotels in San Francisco and New York have at least considered them. The unique design of the turbines to be placed on the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort make them possible.

While the cost is significant, Costa Dorada Associates hopes to pay part of it through rebates from state and federal government.

The turbine installation is the continuation of an ongoing commitment by the hotel’s owners to reduce the building’s carbon footprint. The resort was the first hotel in Broward County to be awarded a Florida Green Lodging designation by the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection for going above and beyond environmental regulations and voluntarily implementing hotel conservation programs that protect Florida’s environment.

I am looking forward to visiting the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort once the turbines are operational. If you are aware of any similar wind turbine installations or pending ones, be sure to contact me at (440) 243-2055 or editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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