Virgin Hotels is thrilled to announce that Virgin Hotels Chicago, the brand's first property, has achieved LEED Gold Certification, a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Today, the hotel and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) celebrated the achievement with a hosted panel discussion surrounding reducing carbon, reaching net zero and greening supply chains in the hospitality industry.
"Our goal as a company is to have all our properties achieve LEED Silver, so we are ecstatic to have exceeded that benchmark in Chicago," said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. "As we continue to open additional properties, we have aspirational goals of moving towards a net zero carbon footprint across the board."
Virgin Hotels Chicago is located at 203 N. Wabash in the former Old Dearborn Bank building, a property built in 1928, and designated in 2003 as a Chicago Landmark. Through an extensive restoration and renovation process, Virgin Hotels reconditioned much of the building's interior to its original form, including the lobby desk and ornate plaster ceilings. Modern updates were installed to meet LEED certification standards, utilizing green strategies respectful of the building's historic content.
"While keeping the historic elements of the existing building we creatively were able to do a good amount of work, such as adding a roof deck terrace expanding the existing penthouse with a new green roof above," said Jefferson Thomas, Director of Architecture for Virgin Hotels. "We are also using technology such as smart thermostats and occupancy sensors as a way to save energy when guests are not occupying the hotel guestrooms."
Additional highlights include high-performance windows and sensor lighting that reduce energy use, water-efficient toilets and aerated lavatory faucets that assist with water conservation, and high insulation walls and roofing that reduce heating and cooling costs, to name a few.
And now, guests can do their part to make the world a little greener. Beginning Monday, January 18, guests will be able to donate $.75 per night to offset their carbon footprint while staying at Virgin Hotels Chicago.
"Chicago is one of the great global cities, setting a high bar for sustainability across its iconic skyline," said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC's CEO and founding chair. "From The Loop to Lakeshore Drive, from McCormick Place to the Merchandise Mart, so many of the city's great buildings proudly display their LEED plaques as a symbol of their environmental commitment. We're excited to celebrate Virgin Hotels Chicago as the latest addition to this prestigious list of Chicago LEED buildings. Virgin Group's environmental leadership is legendary, and this remaking of a Chicago landmark into a 21st century model of energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, and human health enhancement is a significant achievement and sets a high bar for the global hospitality sector."