MILWAUKEE — Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee earned LEED Gold certification, making it the first hotel in Wisconsin to attain the green building achievement, according to an announcement made May 6.
The building, which opened in the summer of 2014, was ranked by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) based on how well it saves energy and water, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves indoor environmental quality and on its overall environmental impact.
Since its groundbreaking, priority was placed on sustainability efforts. Through numerous green initiatives, the property’s goal was to become one of the most sustainable developments in Milwaukee.
“While obtaining LEED Gold certification is a significant achievement, the effort to obtain this certification was not about recognition,” said Mike Goodrich, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino General manager, in a statement. “Our goal was to advance sustainable business practices, which has been a long-standing tradition of the Forest County Potawatomi and a key focus at the casino for years.”
With the help of the property’s design firm, Cuningham Group Architecture Inc. of Denver, the construction management team, Greenfire Management Services of Milwaukee, Gilbane Construction of Providence, R.I., and the engineering firm U.S. Services Inc. of Adelanto, Calif., many steps were taken to ensure the property would achieve LEED designation.
At the hotel, energy consumption is managed through innovative technology and conservation techniques guests experience as soon as they enter their rooms. When a hotel room key card is entered, the room’s thermostat senses activity and adjusts the room temperature accordingly. Additionally, LED lighting throughout the property has controls in place to limit usage as needed.
To further enhance energy savings, sensors gauge how much natural lighting is coming through the hotel’s large windows during the day, keeping energy consumption down. Furthermore, excess heat from the nearby Forest County Potawatomi Community Renewable Generation power plant offsets the need to burn natural gas for hot water.
In terms of water conservation water consumption has been reduced significantly by incorporating native landscaping techniques. Inside the hotel, all rooms feature low-flow water fixtures. An on-site storm water management system is also in place.
Throughout design and construction, building products were made from locally produced or recycled materials whenever possible. Wood products from local native-owned forests were used throughout the property.
The hotel features 381 rooms; the property’s newest restaurant, Locavore; a lobby bar and lounge; a coffee bar featuring Stone Creek Coffee; more than 12,000 square feet of new meeting space; and refined furniture and fixtures throughout. It was named after the Potawotami tribe, which first occupied the surrounding Menomonee Valley hundreds of years ago.