Below is a little ditty I wrote for “The Boston Globe” (it ran Feb. 8, 2009) about what could these days be called North Carolina’s most famous lodging: Proximity Hotel, about a hour west of Durham, where I live. Its image even graces the cover of the state’s 2009 travel guide. Proximity’s claim to fame: the country’s most energy efficient hotel, with a LEED Platinum rating. What I have to admit surprised me when I visited in December was its hipster factor. In Greensboro? I had no idea.
Office-park setting belies this hotel’s No. 1 green ranking
GREENSBORO, N.C. – It’s a happy coincidence that the greenest hotel in the country is on Green Valley Road in Greensboro.
Last fall, Proximity Hotel was rated the hospitality industry’s most energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable building, earning the US Green Building Council’s only platinum award given to a hotel.
While the hotel’s setting in an urban office park doesn’t scream green, its construction and operation do, allowing it to use 40 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than a comparable hotel, according to owner Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, a local company. Proximity’s dozens of sustainable features include oversized windows for natural light, 100 solar rooftop panels, and an elevator that generates electricity on its way down.
Even its popular restaurant, Print Works Bistro, has risen to the challenge with such innovations as the use of geothermal energy for the refrigeration equipment and oven hoods that use sensors to set the power according to the kitchen’s needs.
The unsuspecting guest or diner will see only a high-design ultrachic hotel and restaurant, but the hotel staff is happy to give a behind-the-scenes tour. It’s almost enough to forgive Proximity’s use of disposable toiletry bottles instead of dispensers.
Proximity Hotel and Print Works Bistro, 704 Green Valley Road, Greensboro, N.C., 800-379-8200, 336-379-8200, http://www.proximityhotel.com/. Doubles start at $249.