LEED Certification

Courtyard Mankato Minnesota Green from the Ground to the Rooftop - By Glenn Hasek

All that’s left is the waiting for the official plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council. When it arrives the Courtyard Mankato Minnesota will become the first hotel in the Gopher State to receive LEED certification.

Green Lodging News Considering all of the property’s green features, the honor will be well deserved. The 93-room property, about a year old, is owned by Mercury Investments L.P. Preston Lougheed is the general manager.

“As far as we know we are the first Marriott in the United States to have solar panels,” Lougheed says. “It was a big investment.” The 40 kW, 192 panel system on the roof of the hotel supplies about 3 percent of the property’s electricity. Including a monitor in the lobby that provides daily, weekly, monthly and annual savings information, the solar system cost $279,182. With state, federal and utility credits, the return on investment is expected to be about 10 years.

For the hotel’s owners, the investment in solar was more than about making money. “They believe in reducing their carbon footprint,” Lougheed says. “It is about doing the right thing.”

The developers of the hotel had to get a variance from Marriott in order to slope the roof so that the solar panels can be seen by passersby. “When we first built the hotel, [Marriott] wanted us to have a flat roof,” Lougheed says.

Rain Gardens Capture Water

When the hotel was built, 80 percent of construction waste was recycled. Today, the hotel has a recycling program in place and three rain gardens capture water from the roof and parking lot. Waste and sediment is stopped and only clean water is flushed into the sewage system.

Energy-efficient PTACs help to reduce heating and cooling costs. A sensor-based energy management system further helps to reduce those costs. The pool and spa boilers are energy efficient and sensors in the dryers shut them off when moisture levels reach a certain point. Fuel-efficient vehicles are given priority parking close to the hotel entrance and conduit has been run for future electric vehicle charging stations.

To conserve water, low-flow faucets, toilets and showerheads have been installed. The washers also help to reduce water consumption. Low-VOC adhesives were used for carpet and wall vinyl and eco-friendly cleaning products are used by housekeepers.

Education is emphasized at the hotel. In addition to the monitor in the lobby, there is a “LEED wall” that outlines the steps that were taken to achieve LEED certification. “We are also going to put a loop on TV to let guests know about our LEED achievement,” Lougheed says.

Go to the Courtyard Mankato Minnesota.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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