2016 Sustainability Report

environmental impact

energy reduction
per occupied room
versus baseline year of 2010

Our approach to environmental preservation allows us to identify unique opportunities, implement innovative initiatives, and drive strong results that reduce our environmental footprint.

The EarthView program, implemented in 2010, began the process of tracking and managing our energy, water, and waste impact. Today, we have sophisticated and reliable systems in place that allow us to collect detailed information and limit the resources we consume. We analyze and share this information with our operational teams and the relevant agencies in the cities where we do business, and take a comprehensive approach to determine which projects to implement to improve our performance over time.

EarthView goes beyond a turnkey list of initiatives and individually embraces each hotel team to ensure the innovation and evolution of the program. Our associates are introduced to EarthView during their initial hire orientation and larger hotels have “EcoLeader” teams that regularly meet to discuss results and opportunities.

We recognize our guests also play an important role in creating an environmentally sustainable community and business. To that end, we offer guests the opportunity to help us in our mission by providing information and inviting them to participate in initiatives such as in-room recycling and the choice to opt-out of housekeeping at specific hotels. Additionally, 93% of Hersha’s hotels are certified under TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program. This program allows us to share each hotel’s green practices with guests who are interested in booking a green stay.

waste reduction
versus baseline year of 2010

According to the National Human Activity Pattern Survey, people, on average, spend 87% of their time indoors. To provide an indoor environment where our guests can perform at their best, we design our hotels to be healthier for them and for the environment. We leverage third-party green building standards and have authored a set of sustainability-minded guidelines that inform our development and renovation processes. We work with our contractors to furnish our hotels with non-toxic materials that are safer for workers, associates, and guests.

We consider how the design of our hotels and communal spaces provide a healthy and engaging setting for our guests regardless of their stay occasion or location.

Green Roof at Hilton Garden Inn M Street, Washington, DC

The Envoy, Seaport, MA


According to the United States Green Building Council, buildings account for almost 40% of total U.S. CO2 emissions, which is more than the industrial or transportation sectors. In recent years, consumers, investors, regulatory bodies, and environmental stakeholders have pushed for increased transparency on how businesses manage their energy. We know as building owners, we have a great opportunity and responsibility to be leaders in driving reductions in energy usage and resulting emissions into the atmosphere.

In addition to the energy efficiency initiatives implemented at each of our hotels, we aim to conserve energy through designs that utilize natural lighting where possible. Additionally, we have installed electric vehicle charging stations for guests to charge vehicles during their stay. In 2016, approximately 10% of Hersha’s hotels had charging stations available to guests, and we plan to increase the number of charging stations across our portfolio in the coming years.


Water is a finite resource and critical to human survival. According to the United Nations, by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed conditions. Across the U.S., we are focused on reducing water usage through our operations and giving back to our local and global communities in water-stressed areas.

One of the ways Hersha has reduced water consumption is by upgrading our laundry program to utilize detergent that requires less hot water and reduces cycle times. This process decreased the use of natural gas and water associated with laundry cycles by more than 10% since its launch.

We continue to reduce water consumption and drive efficiencies to benefit our operations and our communities over the long term. We work with our purchasing and development teams to install more efficient water fixtures such as low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets that reduce water usage, while maintaining high standards for guests. Additionally, in many drought-prone areas, we have upgraded our landscaping plan to utilize native plants, thereby reducing excess watering for outdoor sprinkler systems.

Duane Street Hotel, Tribeca, NY

waste & reuse

According to the Global Footprint Network, global demand for resources, such as food and energy, is 1.5 times what the Earth can regenerate and reabsorb annually. Our natural resources are too valuable to go straight from extraction to usage to landfill. For this reason, Hersha has taken an approach to embed circular economy principles into our daily operations. All of Hersha’s hotels have a comprehensive recycling program and we have started organic waste composting at many of our properties.

We also evaluate opportunities where we can do more with less. For example, we have eliminated phonebooks, Styrofoam, and other unnecessary waste from our hotels. These items are easily replaced with technology or recyclable products that are better for the environment. We continue to work with our suppliers to identify products with more sustainable materials and production.

These collective initiatives have taught us that our waste reduction efforts rely on cooperation with local municipalities. For this reason, we encourage our municipalities to accommodate as many forms of recycled material as possible. We also know that human behavior plays a large role in making long-term meaningful progress. That is why we aim to engage our property teams, vendors, and guests in our efforts.

Beyond our operational initiatives, renovations to our hotels create a significant amount of waste. We work with contractors to recycle as much construction debris as possible and partner with non-profit organizations to donate lightly used furniture and equipment whenever our hotels undergo a renovation. This past year, The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia renovated its Luxury Park Suites. We partnered with Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia to donate furniture, lighting, and appliances to hard-working, low-income families in the region.

The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia, PA donated furniture to Habitat for Humanity post renovation