Element, a 127-suite, extended-stay hotel, opened on January 7 as the area’s first hotel to be built to LEED standards for green design.

Constructed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, based in White Plains, New York, Element Ewing-Hopewell is the seventh hotel for the chain and is owned jointly by American Properties Realty and Hersha Hospitality Management. Hersha also is the manager of the hotel.

Element, Starwood’s green trailblazer, made history when it launched as the only major hotel brand to mandate that its properties pursue the LEED certification. Part of the deal, according to Starwood marketing spokeswoman Paige Francis, is that each location derive at least 35 percent of its energy from renewable resources or through trade-out credits.

The location at Sam Weinroth Road, just off I-95 near Trenton-Mercer Airport, has yet to finalize how it will carry this out, says spokeswoman Stacy Trevino. “Ewing is currently exploring its options and should have the program finalized within about two weeks,” she says. “But this is a brand standard.”

One of the company’s buzz phrases is “eco-chic,” a branding tag designed to lure environmentally conscious travelers, whom Francis says often disregard many of their eco-friendly habits when on the road. The company’s research, she says, has shown that while many people recycle at home or use little or no bottled water, most change or disregard those habits when they travel.

Element was launched to give people the ability to maintain such habits, and it helps guests along by placing recycling bins in each suite and trading little bottles of soap or shampoo for refillable, wall-mounted containers. The hotel also runs filtered water to its rooms (each of which has a full kitchen) in an effort to keep bottled water out.

“Green from the ground up” is a second buzz phrase surrounding Element. The first thing you come across in the parking lot is a curbside charging station for electric vehicles — and you don’t have to be a guest to use it. The lobby and rooms are built with natural light in mind, the water is low-flow and filtered, and there is even an outdoor fire pit. All rooms feature energy-efficient appliances, and even the backing for the wall art is made from recycled tires. Kitchens are supplied with silverware and glassware instead of plastic utensils and paper cups, and the ubiquitous “Do Not Disturb” sign has been replaced with an environmentally-friendly magnet.

Built for families and extended-stay business travelers, the hotel features 2,000 square feet of meeting space and rooms start at $125 a night. “We like to think of it as space to live your life on the road,” Francis says.

Element Ewing-Hopewell, 1000 Sam Weinroth Road East, Ewing 08628; 609-671-0050; fax: 609-671-0151. John St. Olmer, general manager.

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