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citizenM Leverages BREEAM Certification to Set the Standard for Sustainable Hospitality

citizenM Leverages BREEAM Certification to Set the Standard for Sustainable Hospitality

Overview

citizenM's ESG vision is to influence positive change in a world where we are simply guests. The company is focused on proactively lowering its hotels’ environmental impact and has set a pathway to decarbonising its current and new hotels. Its ambitious goals include achieving green building certifications for each hotel, along with conducting climate-risk assessments and energy efficiency and emissions, waste, and water reductions.  

Since citizenM owns and operates 34 properties, BREEAM In-Use certification was chosen given its position as the most widely recognized building sustainability standard for the operational performance of buildings across the globe. Prior to certifying these seven US hotels, citizenM used the BREEAM standard to identify opportunities for improvement that led to receiving a BREEAM “Excellent” rating or higher for many properties across Europe. By proving properties’ alignment with robust, holistic environmental standards, BREEAM In-Use certification plays a crucial role in citizenM’s ESG reporting and obtaining green financing for operational hotels. 

About

Totaling over 650,000 square feet, there were seven hotels central to citizenM’s recent engagement of BREEAM. Constructed between 2014 and 2022, these buildings comprise 44 percent of citizenM’s U.S. portfolio and were designed to offer modern travelers affordable luxury in the central city locations of Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York City, and Washington D.C.  

Background

citizenM’s mission is centered around creating a positive social atmosphere and luxurious experience for guests while making conscious travel easy for them, encouraging them to engage in environmentally friendly practices such as water and resource conservation.

 

Challenges

Pursuing BREEAM In-Use certification for its US properties supported citizenM with the tools needed to perform in-depth analysis and facilitate the improvement of these hotels’ environmental and social impact, reinforcing the company’s commitment to sustainable hospitality. BREEAM certification also opened doors to green financing and lower interest rates, demonstrating the economic benefits of sustainable best practices.  

Solutions

The certification process was instrumental in helping citizenM achieve targeted reductions in energy consumption, emissions, waste, and water usage — including a notable 9% reduction in energy use per room per night, highlighting direct cost savings and operational efficiency. Engagement with BREEAM also spurred citizenM’s pursuance of six energy audits and five decarbonization reports, leading to insights that have supported further energy use and emissions reduction. Financially, the certification facilitated access to sustainability-linked loans at lower rates, enhancing investment in sustainability initiatives. 

In addition to helping achieve specific environmental performance targets, BREEAM certification helped citizenM foster a culture of sustainability across the organization and among hotel guests. By educating employees on sustainability principles, citizenM boosted staff engagement, creating a workforce committed to the company's sustainability goals. At the same time, the company incentivized guests to select options for a more sustainable stay — for example, opting out of daily room cleaning. For each guest that forgoes room cleaning for 2 or more nights, citizenM gives a donation to its long-term partner World Bicycle Relief. This practice has led to citizenM donating over €3.5 million to provide locally assembled bicycles that empower communities of rural students, health workers, and entrepreneurs with life-changing mobility.

Benefits

By assessing its assets against BREEAM's thorough and scientifically supported standards, citizenM has established definitive brand standards. These evaluations, combined with onsite energy audits, have helped the company identify new opportunities to apply practical environmental measures that considerably reduce the environmental footprint of citizenM's portfolio. This progress moves the company closer to achieving its net-zero operational target by 2040 and fulfills its ESG commitments. 

The five BREEAM “Excellent” and two BREEAM “Very Good” ratings achieved by citizenM add an additional layer of attractiveness to investors, guests, corporate bookers and potential partners who prioritize environmental stewardship. This approach has reinforced citizenM's reputation as a leader in sustainable hospitality, demonstrating the effectiveness of integrating BREEAM standards into its broader sustainability strategy. 

Energy 

 

Aligning with its 2040 net-zero operational target, citizenM's U.S. hotels prioritize efficient design, trackable data, 100% LED lighting, and building management systems to optimise energy use. The hotels purchase green-certified electricity to further reduce operational emissions.  

Water 

In addressing water conservation, citizenM monitors water usage at all hotels, utilizes water-efficient landscaping and boasts flow-restricting showers across its properties to reduce water usage. Guests may also opt out of daily room cleaning to further conserve water.  

Resources 

To reduce plastic waste and the environmental impact associated with the production and disposal of single-use plastic items, citizenM’s hotels from the start switched from bulk amenities in guest rooms — replacing individual, single-use plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash with larger, refillable containers. The hotels have also eliminated plastic water bottles in favour of refill stations. Their waste data, collected annually, shows a recycling rate that prevents over 95% of waste from going to landfills. 

  

In the Boston, Chicago, D.C. Capital, and New York Times Square hotels, citizenM works to reduce food waste globally by participating on the Too Good To Go app, allowing the sale of leftover meals from brunch and other dining services at a heavily reduced rate. This initiative helps prevent over 22,000 meals from ending up in landfills. 

Transportation 

 

Each of these seven hotels is in a prime location and supports sustainable, low-emissions transportation by offering bike rooms to guests and staff. Their central locations ensure easy access to public transit, local attractions, and walkable neighbourhoods. 

Summary citizenM

Summary

Developer/ client:
citizenM
Assessor organization:
Longevity Partners
Version:
BREEAM USA In Use: Commercial Version 6
Assessor
Morayo Kamson & Cora Klemme
BREEAM In-Use rating:
All assets were certified for Part 1: Asset Performance. 
citizenM Boston North Station Hotel: 75.3% (Excellent) 
citizenM Chicago Downtown Hotel: 72.9% (Excellent) 
citizenM Miami World Center Hotel: 71.6% (Excellent) 
citizenM New York Bowery Hotel: 55.5% (Very Good) 
citizenM New York Times Square Hotel: 67.1% (Very Good) 
citizenM Washington DC Capitol Hotel: 73.9% (Excellent) 
citizenM Washington DC NoMa Hotel: 72.5% (Excellent) 

Asset Publisher

Asset Publisher