Return to ENERGY
Find More Facilities
ENERGY STAR Labeled Buildings & Plants
Facility Profile ENERGY STAR Logo

ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

Intercontinental Hotel San Francisco
888 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Map It!

From the moment our hotel opened in February 2008, we have been working to implement sustainable building operational practices. Our ownership and staff shared a vision that our hotel would be socially responsible, ecologically respectful, and financially sound. We wanted to ensure a robust and third-party verified comprehensive green program for our hotel, so we turned to the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC's) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Existing Building Operation and Maintenance (LEED EBOM) green building rating system, which incorporates the U.S. EPA's ENERGY STAR energy performance scale to verify efficiency. We completed our performance period on March 31, 2010 (where we show that we are operating as a green building), and are in the process of compiling our final documentation. We submitted our application on May 27, 2010 and achieve our LEED Gold Level certification by August 2010.


The InterContinental San Francisco Sustainability Initiatives include the following.


Green Energy

(We have offset 100 percent of our hotel's energy use for 2 years. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, our Clean Energy Offsets results in little or no carbon dioxide pollution for our hotel's energy use, and reduces smog, soot, mercury, and acid rain pollution.
We have signed a 2-year contract to purchase renewable energy credits to offset 100 percent of our hotel's energy use through 2011.
We offset 100 percent of our hotel's electricity use for 2 years (11,251,200 Kwh) with Green-E Certified American Wind Power.
We offset 100 percent of our hotel's gas use (2,517.94 MTCo2) for 2 years with ACR Verified Choice Carbon.

Water Conservation

(The LEED EBOM water calculator estimates that in full occupancy we save 3,413Kgals gallons of water per year.)
We were able to reduce our guest room water use by 22 percent (approximately 3,413 Kgals/year) by replacing our guest room EPACT-compliant 2.2 gpm sink aerators with 0.5 gpm sink aerators provided free from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). We also replaced kitchen hand-washing stations with low-flow (0.5 gpm) faucet aerators. Other strategies to reduce water use include implementing a leak detection program for restrooms and the cooling towers, and reducing the amount of water used for cleaning the exterior of the hotel.
-- Our linen reuse program has a 45 percent success rate.


Green Cleaning and Sustainable Exterior Management Program

(Protects indoor air quality, occupant and workers' health, and virgin forests, and reduces noise and smog.)
The InterContinental SF has a comprehensive green cleaning program, from using green cleaning chemicals and equipment to environmentally preferred paper products. The majority of cleaning chemicals used to clean the hotel guest rooms and public areas and restrooms are Green Seal or Environmental Certified.
Toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues are made from rapidly renewable material (bamboo), not virgin forests. 
Our green exterior management program has eliminated the use of gas powered or noisy equipment. Only green cleaning chemicals or water are used to clean the exterior of the building or other hardscapes. In addition, we only use low VOC paints, coatings, and weatherproofing products on the exterior of the building or other hardscapes.
We have an integrated pest management program for the interior and exterior of the hotel.


Encouraging the Use of Public Transportation

(More than 75 percent of all employees take public transportation, bike, walk, or carpool every day to and from work, resulting in a significant decrease in emissions as compared to the average work environment where the majority of employees drive to and from work in a single occupancy vehicle.)
Our public transportation incentive programs, proximity to public transportation, and minimal employee parking has created an environment where more than 75 percent of our staff carpools, bikes, or takes public transportation to and from work. We conducted an employee-wide alternative transportation survey. With a 97 percent response rate, the results showed that less the 25 percent of all employees drive alone to and from work. More than 75 percent of all employees take public transportation, bike, and walk or carpool every day to and from work. A shower is provided for all employees.
In addition, we are encouraging our guests to use public transportation when visiting the city. To assist our guests in making the choice to go car-free, we created an extensive website with descriptions of the tourist destinations in San Francisco and the easiest way to reach them by public transportation. We have trained all our concierge staff to use this website when guests request site-seeing information. Please check out our destination website at:  -- We have a developed a relationship with a local bike company to provide discount bike rentals to our guests and employees.


Recycling, Composting and Waste Diversion Program

(We divert more than 73 percent of our waste from the landfill through our composting, recycling, and waste avoidance programs.)
We have a comprehensive recycling, composting, and waste diversion program. We compost 100 percent of all our food and landscaping waste.
Our current diversion rate is 79 percent.
Our waste avoidance program has resulted in the elimination of numerous waste streams including: (1) dry cleaning bags/boxes (dry cleaning is now brought in with one large reusable bag covering all the staff and guest clothes); (2) dry-cleaning hanger recycling program; (3) bulk condiments dispensers in our cafeteria and for all conferences; (4) filter water at all meetings/events (vs. bottled water); (5) reusable dishware and utensils (no use of disposables); and (6) no foam policy.
We also donate partially used/unused hotel amenities and linens to a local women's shelter.
We have a comprehensive durable goods recycling program. All durable goods are diverted from the landfill either through resale, recycling, or donation.
We use reusable cleaning mops, sponges, and cloths as well as use worn out sheets and towels as cleaning rags.


Sustainable Purchasing

(Our EPP program results in forest protection and use of recycled material, and protects occupant health and wellbeing.)
We provide environmentally friendly guest room amenities. Our Eco Boutique line from Pacific Direct has bottles that are made from 100 percent recycled plastic, contains EcoCert certified organic extracts, and contains no parabens, mineral oils, genetically modified ingredients, synthetic fragrances or colors. The soap is free from titanium dioxide.
Key cards are made from recycled plastic, and all meeting pads, guest room pads, envelopes, and letterhead are made from recycled paper.
We have a program in place to ensure all new purchases of electronic equipment will be ENERGY STAR qualified.
Fluorescent energy-efficient lights have the minimum mercury possible.

Additional Sustainable Programs
-- Have a sustainable menu available for meetings and functions.
100 percent smoke free hotel.
Virtually all guest room and meeting/bouquet rooms have natural light.
InterContinental San Francisco believes in educating our next generation of hospitality leaders. We have developed an internship program with hospitality students at San Francisco State University. We provide hotel on-site internships every semester. In addition, we have provided sustainability-related projects to SFSU senior-level hospitality classes for the past 2 years.


We at the InterContinental San Francisco have placed our financial and human resources behind our sustainability efforts. Hotel ownership provided the capital costs for the energy improvements and green power. Our Green Team (sustainability working group) is made up of Executive level staff, including our General Manager and numerous department heads. All hotel employees were instructed that the green initiatives were a top priority, and would be part of their evaluations. We have had full staff involvement in implementing our sustainable maintenance and operations practices.




Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by Intercontinental Hotel or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Service Provider:
InterContinental San Francisco

Building Owner:*
Intercontinental Hotel

Property Manager:*
Intercontinental Hotel

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2009 (76)
2010 (86)
2012 (87)
2013 (86)

Facility Type: Hotel

Total Floorspace: 489676 sf

Year Constructed: 2008

Contract Type: Internal Resources
Financing Type: Internal Capital

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Stage 4-Fan Systems
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant
   Other Technologies/Strategies