Cornell University has completed the first study to track the financial performance of LEED-certified hotels across the United States. The research concludes that LEED-certified hotels are currently generating more revenue than their less energy-efficient counterparts. The certification serves as an acknowledgement of a structure's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The raw data of the study indicates that there is "a general trend toward superior financial performance" for LEED-certified hotels, which is noteworthy because the occupancy rate of LEED-certified hotels trails their non-certified competitors by 4 percent. Conversely, LEED-certified hotels have seen increases in their individual occupancy rates after certification, despite the cost of staying in the hotels rising to an average of $9 more per night than hotels without certification.
In response to these developments, the Cornell report says that "considering these challenges, it is remarkable that LEED certified hotels match competitors' occupancy levels within a year of certification."
Another interesting finding was that just a year ago, there was no significant revenue impact for LEED-certified hotels. But the study suggests that the income increases have resulted in renewable energy initiatives becoming a more common element of travel and American life. As people become more experienced and comfortable with the option, they tend to select LEED-certified hotels more frequently.
A 2013 Navigant Research survey shows that 72 percent of Americans were unfamiliar with LEED certification, but 80 percent of those surveyed approved of the concept once it was explained to them. In addition to increasing revenue, the energy conservation practices required to attain LEED certification have also raised the property values of the hotels and overall customer satisfaction.