Posts Tagged ‘LEED’

Paint this hotel bright green

February 11, 2009
The Proximity hotel has 100 solar panels on the roof

The Proximity hotel has 100 solar rooftop panels and oversized windows

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

The US Green Building Council awarded its only platinum award to the Proximity hotel

US Green Building Council awarded its only lodging platinum to Proximity

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.

The hotel lobby

Sweeping view of hotel lobby

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.

The City Suite

The "City Suite," one of the largest rooms

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, Doubles start at $249.

Is Element hotel green, or a wash?

July 2, 2008

Here’s a benefit of writing a blog. Even if my letter to the editor at the Boston Globe isn’t published, I still get to share it with globe (i.e. the world) readers. I got a little worked up after a reading this story in the business section yesterday (I zip through the Globe daily online, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post) about a new hotel venture by the same company that brought us Westin/W Hotel. This is what I sent the Globe:

Dear editor:

I was disappointed that the July 1 article on Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc’s new test hotels in Lexington (Mass.) read more like a public-relations fact sheet than a news article. Here are some questions I’d like to see vice president Brian McGuinness answer about his “ecoconscious” Element hotel.

1) Why did you tear down the old Sheraton to build a new structure? Inherently, that is anti-environmental.

2) Sure, it’s nice that you have such things as in-room recycling, low-flow showerheads, and energy-saving bulbs, but many hotels have that already. What makes your contribution to this field so special?

3) You give priority parking to hybrids, but you probably know that many compact cars get better mileage than larger hybrids. Will I get VIP parking for my 1994 Honda Civic hatchback? It still gets 35-plus mpg on the highway, and I haven’t used up valuable resources buying a new car for 14 years now!

4) Since these weren’t mentioned, here are a few things I wonder if you do have. If not, why not? Solar energy, geothermal energy, windows that open, recycling building materials, recycled particleboard in the rooms, a green rooftop, native plantings, a bike-sharing program, kitchen composting, in the rooms and with any food services you provide.

5) Is your building certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System? If not, why not?

The answers to these questions would help consumers decide if your hotel is truly eco-conscious or just another green-wash marketing scheme.

Diane Daniel/Durham, NC, USA