To be the Green Business Innovator of the Year in Montgomery County, you have to be more than green. You have to be a pioneer.
Not long ago, leaders at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) hatched an idea that fits the bill: a chain of hotels deliberately catering to health- and wellness-conscious travelers. The new concept was EVEN Hotels, and it included efforts to foster a healthy environment as much as a healthy guest.
Montgomery County was one of the first locations identified as a home for the new concept, and on November 19, just 16 months after it opened, EVEN Hotel Rockville received the Green Business Innovator of the Year award from the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
“For many, personal wellness and environmental wellness are symbiotic,” explained Adam Glickman, head of EVEN Hotels, IHG, the Americas. “Through our research in developing EVEN Hotels, we heard this from many consumers. This is much more than just getting a good night sleep—it’s recognizing that as a brand we can and should embrace ways to do things right by our building, community, and environment…We have a commitment to doing the right thing in the communities in which we operate, and sustainability is a key pillar in that.”
The primary focus of EVEN Hotels, which opened its first location in Norwalk, Connecticut in June 2014 (followed by EVEN Hotel Rockville, their second location), is consumers who want to maintain their health and wellness regimens on the road. Exercise equipment in guestrooms, ergonomic furnishings, healthy eating options, and wide-ranging fitness amenities help make EVEN different. But sustainability is another distinction. At the 167-room EVEN Hotel Rockville, green elements include:
Gigi Godwin, president and CEO of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, said EVEN Hotel Rockville was a terrific choice for the award because of its transformative approach to hospitality.
“We want to recognize somebody that is taking a traditional or existing industry segment and applying green sustainability practices,” Godwin noted. “How does it change the marketplace? EVEN took something they saw out there and made it better.”
The health of the individual and the health of the environment may seem unconnected at first, but according to Godwin and Glickman, the two are closely linked.
“You can’t have wellness without a clean environment,” Godwin said. “That goes for our interior environments as well as outside in nature…EVEN Hotels have plants in each room. That kind of practice is a way to support wellness.”
Glickman called Montgomery County a natural fit for an innovative, health-centric hotel like EVEN.
“EVEN Hotels is focused on launching in markets where our target wellness-minded guest both lives and travels to,” Glickman observed. “EVEN Hotel Rockville is located in a major feeder market (Washington, D.C.) and is well-situated to meet the demand of the large population in and traveling to those areas. Montgomery County is at the center of D.C.’s federal and advanced technology marketplace and home headquarters of more than 60 major companies.”
According to Godwin, it’s another sign that the word is out on Montgomery County as a receptive destination for businesses with a commitment to sustainability.
“They chose Montgomery County because they believed it was a good place to launch this kind of product,” Godwin said. “We want to see everyone adopt greater sustainability practices. Being green is a good business model.”
By Scott Harris, Freelance Writer. Read Scott’s other posts on the benefits of environmental peer pressure, birds and climate change, eco-friendly ice rinks, residential solar, and congregational rain gardens.