Green Answer From CBH Hospitality

Bhavesh Patel has been asked the same question too many times to count. It’s always the first question he gets from other developers, builders and journalists: Why? Why are he and business partner Hitu Bhakta spending extra money and time to build a green hotel? And not just any hotel with a few eco-friendly features, but one with all the green fixings.

The 67-room La Quinta Inn & Suites Wolfchase in Cordova, TN will incorporate all the typical items like LED lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures and an energy-saving HVAC system, but it will also utilize a massive solar-electric system with 2,300 square feet of solar panels and a windmill to reduce energy needs.

“Everyone we talk to has asked that question,” Patel says. “Why are you doing this? Why spend extra money? Why are you going all out? Why not? Someone has to answer with why not. We couldn’t find any good reasons not to do it. We’ll spend extra money, but it should pay off with patronage and reducing energy consumption.”

Patel and Bhakta formed CBH Hospitality to develop their first green hotel, the La Quinta outside of Memphis, which they hope to open next March. They have smaller stakes in four other hotels in Tennessee and have sold pieces of others to help fund this project, which they say is just the beginning. They’re aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver status with hopes of reaching the higher Gold level.

“We have a lot riding on this,” Patel says. “We’ve put all our eggs into this basket. If we do sell others we’ll green them up as much as possible first. We want this one to be the starting point. Everything we do after will be Gold or Platinum (the top and most stringent levels of LEED).”

Patel says there wasn’t an event or epiphany that led to the duo’s green renaissance. He explains both have tried doing their part personally, but never thought about it from a business perspective. Questions from their children ultimately pushed them to do more. “I have a young daughter and she came to me asking about going green,” Bhakta says. “It’s rewarding to let her know that we are doing something different.”

The duo wasn’t familiar with La Quinta prior to the project, but has since found the company a perfect match. La Quinta has been an Energy Star partner since 1995 and had an active energy management department since 1992. Compact fluorescent lamps have been used in guestrooms since 1999 and the company employs extensive recycling policies and will soon introduce a new green prototype. It has invited the CBH team to join the company’s environmental committee.

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