As the first in what (I hope) will be a series of diaries targeting businesses and individuals who "get it right" when it comes to development, I thought I would take a look at the newly completed Proximity Hotel in Greensboro.
It's actually only partially open for now, with only a set number of rooms available, but they were doing quite a bit of business when I was there today.
Also, this is the first time I've tried to use graphics in a blog at BlueNC, so if it's so tiny you can't tell what the picture is, or if it runs off the page and cracks the side of your monitor, you know. "I'm not responsible." :)
The Proximity Hotel was designed along the guidelines provided under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. They are working towards achieving the highest rating possible (Platinum), which will make them the first hotel in the U.S. to attain such. I hope they make it.
I'm not going to cover all the sustainable aspects of the building, but I did want to point out a few of them. As you can imagine, the water usage in hotels is astronomically high. By utilizing the 100 Solar water heating panels on the roof, over 60% of the hotel's water is heated without using a single kilowatt. The white roofing surface is made of 100% recycled material, it reflects the heat off the building as well as aiding in rainwater reclamation:
The structure and furnishings are a model of recycling ingenuity, from the 100% recycled sheetrock to the 100% post-industrial wood pulp shelving. The use of natural lighting is a constant throughout the building, allowing 90% of the regularly occupied spaces a direct view to the great outdoors:
For those who still believe green building is an expensive "niche" idea, think again. The amount of money this hotel will save in energy costs will be into five figures per month. I've asked the engineering staff to let me know when the figures have been crunched, as this is a critical part of the equation.
For those reading this who sit on city councils, county boards, private business boards, as well as GA members, I'm issuing you a challenge. When new construction projects are brought before you for consideration, put the rubber stamp down for a minute and state the following: "Please detail the sustainable aspects of this project, as well as the environmental impact it will have."
If the answer doesn't sound right, it probably isn't. Tell 'em to go back to the drawing board and get it right, or find another occupation.