Hilton’s Environmentally Friendly Room Design

With over 20 million Americans reported
as sufferers of Asthma, (the prevalence of the disease up 75% from 1980 to
1994), and as many 70 million with allergies, it is evident these and
other respiratory illnesses are on the rise, according to the National
Center for Health Statistics, Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “It is for these reasons, we’re exploring offering hotel rooms that
provide air quality for those Hilton guests afflicted with sensitivities
and reactions to dusts, molds or chemicals,” according to J. Peter Lynn,
General Manager of the Hilton O’Hare Airport. Specifically, Lynn is
referring to a pilot project at the Hilton hotel located on the grounds of
the O’Hare International Airport. The project, executed through a
Chicagoland firm that specializes in indoor air quality, seeks to control
the three components that form poor indoor air quality. These are
bio-aerosols, which are made up of spores; particulates, which are largely
dust particles, and Volatile Organic Compounds (V.O.C.s) that are gassed
off from almost everything in a room, especially furniture, carpet and
cleaning supplies. “By eliminating and therefore controlling what goes
into a room, we can minimize the exposure to our guests of these elements,
and provide better indoor air quality,” Lynn said.

The project began with Lynn identifying several rooms in the Hilton O’Hare
Airport, and instructed the firm to completely gut them. “Literally
everything was removed from these rooms—floor coverings, wall
coverings, drapes, furniture, bedding—everything,” Lynn emphasizes.

With the spaces completely stripped, the firm (which has a patent pending
on the methodology) then began rebuilding the rooms with special wood
flooring, wall coverings, fabrics, furniture, paints, adhesives and
cleaning products, etc. (A total breakdown of what is different in the
rooms is attached.) The rooms also include “a state-of the-art air
purification technology that provides a significant reduction in
particulates, microbial, VOC’s and other allergens.”

Prior to developing the new project the firm consulted with such
organizations as the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology;
the America College of Asthma, Allergy and Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
These organizations not only expressed real excitement for what is called
Hilton’s “Enviro-Room Designs(TM)” but have displayed a willingness to
publicize Hilton’s initiative to its various constituencies. Highly
respected Chief of Allergy and Immunology of Advocate Health Centers, Dr.
Michael B. Foggs is among those in the medical community who support the
Enviro-Room Design concept Hilton is piloting. “Hilton Hotels should be
commended for having the insight and foresight to provide their customers
with the option of staying in hotel rooms with enhanced air quality. I am
proud to be a part of this progressive innovation. Enhanced air quality is
an environmental refinement whose time has come,” Foggs said.

A unique monitoring system offers a highly innovative, state-of-art
approach to environmental monitoring. This system, unlike anything else
available, provides the hotel with critical information that will help
ensure healthy indoor air qualities. The system records the five crucial
indoor air quality parameters—temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2),
relative humidity, odor and gases (TVOCs), and carbon monoxide (CO). The
hotel can then access this real-time IAZ information in the form of charts
and graphs with a password-protected Internet connection through a
website. Real time data collection allows instantaneous comparisons to
alert limits. If IAQ readings exceed predetermined specifications, our
engineers are notified that alert conditions occurred, immediately, 24
hours a day via e-mail or pager.

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Following the installation of the allergy and asthma friendly rooms at the
Hilton O’Hare Airport, Lynn is going to take a “wait and see” posture as
to the rooms’ future. “It clearly is a matter of assessing our guests’
demands for these special types of accommodations. Since there is an added
cost in creating these rooms, we need to make certain they are willing to
pay the nominal extra charge for providing them, and the air quality
that’s made possible in them,” Lynn said.
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