If you want to see a pioneer in the green movement, look no further than CITYCENTRE, Houston's premier destination for dining, shopping, living and working.
The whole mixed-use development was designed to be an eco-friendly haven: From the high-efficiency glass on the storefront windows to the placement of the buildings, which were configured with shade and airflow in mind, to the drought-tolerant turf and the irrigation system that waters it.
"We put in a drip irrigation system at CITYCENTRE. Unlike regular sprinklers, which often water the sidewalk, this stays in the ground. There's no waste of water at all," says Jay Wiederhold, director of construction for Perennial Landscaping, which oversees the on-site landscape maintenance.
The pedestrian-friendly complex is meant to reduce the number of car trips required, whether you're there to work, stay or play.
What's more, the pedestrian-friendly complex is meant to reduce the number of car trips required, whether you're there to work, stay or play. More than 50 tenants provide everything a visitor needs, all within walking distance. There's no reason to get back in the car.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. The tenants, for their part, are also working in sync with CITYCENTRE's green goals.
A restaurant that keeps it real(ly local)
Ruggles Green made headlines when it became the first restaurant in Texas to become a Certified Green Restaurant from the Green Restaurant Association. To date, it's the only 4-star green restaurant in Texas, thanks to its efforts to reduce energy consumption, water use, chemicals and pollution.
"We are very proud to be the greenest restaurant in Texas," says Federico Marques, co-founder and co-owner of the homegrown cafe. "Our goal is to operate in the most sustainable manner possible with extensive recycling, composting, energy-saving equipment and water conservation steps in place."
Food is another important aspect, of course: Ruggles Green offers many vegan and vegetarian dishes and gluten free options, with much of the fresh, organic produce provided by local farmers.
"We feel it's important to offer healthier options, support our communities and lead the industry in reducing waste and inefficiency," Marques says.
Sleeping in style — and guilt-free
Not only does Hotel Sorella offer one of the most luxurious stays on some of the most luxe linens in the city. It also does it with a clean conscience.
CITYCENTRE's signature boutique hotel is an affiliate of Clean the World, a nonprofit that collects gently-used bath products from the hospitality industry, recycles the donations and redistributes to those in need.
Not only does Hotel Sorella offer one of the most luxurious stays on some of the most luxe linens in the city. It also does it with a clean conscience
Since the organization's inception in 2009, it has put more than 11 million soap bars and 325,000 pounds of shampoo and conditioner back into human use — preventing acute respiratory infection and diarrheal disease in domestic homeless shelters and impoverished countries — while eliminating over 750 tons of waste.
Hotel Sorella's soaps and shampoos are collected on a monthly basis. "The hotel's participation is part of our green initiative and is a means to provide charity assistance," says Anavel Platt, director of housekeeping for the hotel.
Running wild, running green
One among the hundreds of events that CITYCENTRE hosts each year is the green6.2 run, celebrating its fourth annual event on April 27. The 10K starts and ends at the main plaza, with the rest of the course winding through the tree-lined streets of the Memorial Villages subdivision.
In its commitment to stay as eco-friendly as possible, the race has partnered with Virtual Race Bags to produce a "virtual goodie bag" full of sponsor swag and has plans to melt down leftover finisher medals for repurposing.
Register for the race here.