WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Rolling out the "green carpet" for drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles, Element Hotels today announced its goal to install electric car-charging stations at all of its properties by the end of 2009.
A worldwide first for a hospitality brand, the program comes after piloting a charging station at Starwood-owned Element Lexington which proved to be a hit with guests and locals alike. Element Hotels is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.'s (NYSE: HOT) new eco-chic brand.
The ChargePoint(R) Networked Charging Station was developed by California innovator Coulomb Technologies. In partnership with Carbon Day Automotive, it will be available at Element hotels currently open, and will be available for installation at properties that the brand plans to open over the next several years.
"At Element, we aim to provide greener options for our guests, and the charging stations are a perfect next step," said Brian McGuinness, Senior Vice President, Specialty-Select Brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. "Even guests who don't yet drive electric cars tell us that the charging stations are encouraging them to think about more sustainable alternatives, and that's very gratifying."
Sleek and slim, ChargePoint devices are equipped with a universal plug-in for all kinds of electric vehicles, from cars and buses to electric bikes. Plug-in hybrid cars, expected to roll out over the next few years, are also compatible. To use the stations, guests will simply swipe a key fob, plug in, and charge up. Guests who pull up in electric or hybrid cars will also get VIP green carpet treatment with "Hybrid Preferred" parking spots closest to Element hotels' front doors.
Using Google(TM) Maps, travelers will even be able locate the charging station and determine whether it is in use or unoccupied. Furthering Element's commitment to cleaner, greener travel, non-guests will also have access to the charging stations.
The ChargePoint Charging Station is the most recent eco-friendly innovation from Element, Starwood's working laboratory for green design, practices and operations. With six Element hotels open to-date, Element is the only major hotel brand to mandate that its properties pursue the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The mainstreaming of electric cars got a boost last month when U.S. utilities pledged to increase their efforts to expand the use of plug-in electric vehicles. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, policymakers are increasingly turning to electric cars as a way to cut the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gas linked to climate change. U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a million plug-in vehicles on the road by 2015.
Launched by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. in 2008, Element delivers a no-compromise, eco-chic experience enhanced by comfortable and inspiring public spaces, modern touches and smart design. Element Hotels is the first major hotel brand to mandate that all its properties pursue the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for high-performance buildings.
Element's green features are cleverly designed to be as aesthetically appealing as they are eco-friendly, so guests never compromise on style and comfort. Eco-friendly materials are used whenever possible and natural light is maximized throughout the hotels. To reduce waste, guest room bathrooms are equipped with amenity dispensers, kitchens are supplied with silverware and glassware instead of plastic utensils and paper cups, and filtered drinking water is available rather than plastic water bottles. Recycling bins are available in guest rooms and public areas. Element conserves water and energy with low-flow faucets and fixtures, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and energy-efficient appliances. Even the ubiquitous "Do Not Disturb" sign has been replaced with an environmentally-friendly magnet.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 982 properties in more than 100 countries and 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis(R), The Luxury Collection(R), W(R), Westin(R), Le Méridien(R), Sheraton(R), Four Points(R) by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft(R), and ElementSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts.
Carbon Day Automotive, based in Chicago, is committed to working with hotels, developers, large municipalities and small communities to ensure that an EV infrastructure is in place that will allow drivers to travel distances with the secure knowledge that they can find fuel. Carbon Day Automotive is proud to have installed charging stations in Starwood properties, significant condominium developments, and public parking garages throughout the country. In addition, Carbon Day Automotive has the technology to retrofit hybrid vehicles that are currently on the road. They are working diligently to create a cross country corridor for electric vehicles.
SOURCE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.