"There's no question we're not leaders in that (green) business,but I think we're slowly coming around that way," says John Fox ofPKF Consulting in New York City, a hospitality research andconsulting firm. "All major chains have started green programs andare looking at this area with a level of consciousness never heardof before.''

For hotels, green means more than sustainable buildingmaterials, water-saving fixtures, programmable heating and airconditioning for each area of a hotel on an as-needed basis, orunique atrium designs that rely on passive light for heating,illumination and air flow.It's also a strong reaction to aneducated consumer now insisting on environmentally sensitivehotels, and, surprisingly, it's the seasoned corporate traveler aswell as a younger, environmentally conscious generation oftravelers that are demanding green accommodations, say operators,architects and analysts.

Many hotels have undergone major renovations to turn green; butfor new development the unanswered denominator is the premium inbuilding to green specifications versus the payoff in energysavings down the road. The US Green Building Council has specificguidelines for hotels to earn the commonly known Leadership inEnergy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The programcan also qualify developers for federal tax credits, and states arealso now giving tax credits and other incentives for hotels tobecome environmentally sound. "We are seeing a rush of interest ingreen hotels, a drastic change just within the last nine months,"says Marc Heisterkamp, manager of corporate and investment realestate for the council.

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