Hersha Hospitality Management has developed and implemented EarthView®, a unique program dedicated to sustainable hospitality. Driven by our company's entrepreneurial culture and cross-functional teams from our hotels and corporate offices, EarthView delivers environmental and conservation programs that positively impact a hotel operation's bottom line while simultaneously improving the wellbeing of our guests, our employees, our communities and our planet. Through EarthView, we are doing our part to make sustainable hospitality a genuine reality.
Our approach to environmental preservation allows us to identify unique opportunities, implement innovative initiatives and drive strong results that reduce our environmental footprint. When it was created in 2010, the EarthView program began the process of tracking and managing our energy, water and waste impact. Today, we have sophisticated and reliable systems in place that allow us to collect detailed information and limit the resources we consume. We analyze and share this information with our operational teams and the relevant agencies in the cities where we do business and take a comprehensive approach to determine which projects to implement to improve our performance over time.
We recognize our guests also play an important role in creating an environmentally sustainable community and business. To that end, we offer guests the opportunity to help us in our mission by providing information and inviting them to participate in initiatives such as in-room recycling and the choice to opt-out of housekeeping at specific hotels. Additionally, many of Hersha's hotels are certified under TripAdvisor's GreenLeaders program. This program, developed in conjunction with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Energy Star and U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), grants hotels one of four statuses: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum based on the impact of the hotel's green practices.
As a company with hotels across the U.S., we see ourselves as local members of each community where we do business. We believe the communities we serve are integral to our long-term success. When our associates show dedication to their communities by volunteering time, raising money or donating items they no longer use, they enhance the vibrancy and quality of the community.
Community is one of Hersha's core values and fundamental to our long tradition of social responsibility and community engagement. This tradition began with Hersha's founders and continues today with the EarthView program. In 2017, Hersha's hotels and corporate offices supported over 267 organizations in our local communities.
We also honor our deep commitment to our communities by dedicating time and talents. In 2017, our associates volunteered as mentors to future leaders, cleaned up parks and waterways, and provided items for food and clothing drives. In the past year, Hersha associates donated over 35,000 items of clothing, linens, books, toys, and school supplies to charitable organizations in our local communities.
We believe being responsible stewards of our communities and environment is an integral part of maintaining and building a successful business. Through EarthView, Hersha is able to drive incremental value through energy-and water-savings initiatives with measurable and timely returns.
We continually implement portfolio-wide energy savings initiatives such as energy efficient lighting and guestroom energy management systems. A majority of Hersha hotels have now converted to LED lighting. LEDs are more efficient than incandescent and florescent lighting and have a much longer lifespan.
Additionally, we continue to install guestrooms energy management systems across our expanding portfolio. These systems reduce energy consumption while rooms are unrented or unoccupied, saving our hotels 25-35% in heating and cooling costs, equivalent to approximately $1 million annually.
Both corporate travel managers as well as leisure guests are increasingly interested in tracking their environmental footprint while travelling and we are equipped to provide environmental information for Request for Proposals (RFPs).
Beyond the expectations of our guests, sustainability is an area of focus for regulatory bodies. Over the past several years, regulations for energy, water, waste and reporting have increased across the U.S. and in many of Hersha's core markets. As environmental and social initiatives move from electives to mandates, Hersha is well positioned to comply.