Michael Chang, director of energy and sustainability at Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: LRY), joined REIT.com for a video interview at NAREIT’s 2015 Leader in the Light Working Forum in Reston, Va.
Host Hotels won the 2014 Leader in the Light Award for the lodging sector. Chang noted that the company attempted to expand its sustainability program and make it more comprehensive last year. Chang said that included “programmatic” improvements to the company’s properties, such as LED lighting and in-room management efficiency efforts.
Chang also pointed to Host Hotel’s corporate policies as an area of improvement.
“We were able to develop sustainability-focused policies where we informed and set some minimum thresholds for sustainable activity throughout our organization,” he said. “This goes all the way up to the top level [of the company], and we have a lot of support in sustainable investments.”
Furthermore, Chang said the company examined its data management processes, covering both the quality and scope of information collected.
“We were able to assess the opportunities across all of our properties and also verify that we were getting the benefits from our initiatives,” he said.
Looking at individual initiatives, Chang highlighted a project in New York to implement generators at two Host properties to create steam from natural gas. In doing so, the company not only cut costs, but improved its carbon efficiency by roughly 20 percent, according to Chang.
Chang also offered his opinion on the unique sustainability opportunities in the lodging sector.
“We’re able to implement a lot of innovative initiatives because we get direct benefits from the different types of energy…projects that we do,” he said. That enables the company to “push the envelope” when it comes to using sustainability to create value, according to Chang.