Hotels Take the LEED, Coast to Coast

By Organic Spa Magazine / September 14, 2011


You might remember our playful interview in the Fall 2007 issue of Organic Spa with Dennis Quaintance of the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina. At the time, Quaintance was about to finish construction on the first LEED-certified hotel in America. A year later LEED upped its certification to Platinum, making the Proximity Hotel and its restaurant, the Print Works Bistro, the first hotel and restaurant in America to be certified LEED.

How’d they do it? Among many other things: Installed 100 solar rooftop panels, recycled 87 percent of the construction debris (1,535 tons), sourced over 40 percent of the building materials locally, used over 20 percent recycled content, restored 700 feet of an adjacent stream, installed the first regenerative drive elevators in North America, generating electricity on the descent for the ascent, provided natural lighting (day-lighting) to 97 percent of the occupied space, used elaborate energy recovery systems to provide large amounts of fresh outside air to all guests, and sourced 90 percent of the furniture locally. To learn more or book a room and see it for yourself, go to

Meanwhile, on the west coast, Starwood debuted its latest property, a boutique hotel called the Nines that they hope to have certified LEED Silver by Spring 2009. The 331-room hotel, housed on the top nine floors of a landmark building in Portland, Oregon (the rest is occupied by Macy’s), will draw from 100 percent renewable energy, including wind power and carbon offsets.

Ninety percent of the 24 million pounds of material removed during the building’s renovation was recycled; the hotel used only low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, and carpets; guest bathrooms have dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets (they anticipate this will save 500,000 gallons of water yearly); and the hotel’s setting in the Meier & Frank building counts toward certification, earning credits for reuse and for maintaining at least 75 percent of the building’s shell. As if these weren’t enough, it’s walking (or bicycling) distance to Stumptown Coffee Roasters, our favorite place to get a caffeine fix when in Portland.