Annapolis’ Springhill Suites tops green efforts with solar rooftop
Baltimore Business Journal – by Daniel J. Sernovitz Staff
Springhill Suites in Annapolis is planning to become the latest Greater Baltimore hotel to go green, though it might be a bit hard to see from the ground.
The owners of the four-story building plan to install 189 solar panels on the roof of the Admiral Cochrane Drive hotel.
The Bernstein Co. is hoping to cut down on costs by installing the photovoltaic cells at the 120-room Annapolis hotel.
“I think a lot of people are looking for that right now,” hotel General Manager Steve Merchant said. “Where people might use that to make a decision, they’ll say I’ll stay at that hotel because of its environmental consciousness.”
The Bernstein Cos. was recently awarded a permit to install the solar panels, which absorb the sun’s rays and help generate energy for the hotel’s use. Bernstein Co. Chief Financial Officer John Chanaud said the panels could generate about 65,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough electricity to power six-and-a-half homes for a year.
“This is the first in our portfolio, but we’re evaluating all of our properties to see if it makes sense financially,” Chanaud said. “We’ve seen some hotels across the country do it and we’ve made an effort company wide to be more environmentally friendly.”
The work, to be done by Eclipse Renewable Energy LLC of Ocean View, Del., will cost about $243,000. Eclipse Renewable owner Ira Kalbrosky said because of the amount of energy they use, hotels are ideally suited for solar power and the savings in electrical costs that come with it. The panels should save the hotel between 15 percent and 20 percent on energy costs.
Merchant said the solar panels are just one of several environmentally friendly features in the hotel, which also include motion-triggered thermostats and recycling bins in each guest room.
The green wave is becoming increasingly common among Baltimore-area hotels, said Mary Jo McCulloch, president of the Maryland Hotel & Lodging Association. McCulloch said energy-efficient designs can save hotel operators money and make the difference between whether patrons stay at one hotel or another.
The trend has gotten so popular the Maryland State Office Of Tourism is marketing the “Maryland Green Travel” program touting those hotels that have been certified as green by the Maryland Department of the Environment.