First LEED Platinum Restaurant
Proximity & Print Works named the highest rated “Green” hotel and restaurant in America
October 7, 2008 ( Greensboro, NC) — Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels announced today that Print Works Bistro and Proximity Hotel have been awarded LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is the USGBC’s rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient, and high performing buildings. Opened in late 2007, Proximity Hotel and Print Works Bistro are the first in the hospitality industry to obtain the USGBC’s top level of certification.
Dennis Quaintance , the CEO and CDO (Chief Design Officer) of Quaintance-Weaver, is obviously delighted. “When we started the design process four years ago, I would have never believed that we could use 41% less energy and 33% less water without one iota of compromise in comfort or luxury and with minimal additional construction costs,” says Quaintance. “It just goes to show what a determined team can accomplish if they use common sense and get a little bit of help from the sun.”
His “sun” comment refers to the 100 solar rooftop panels that heat water for the AAA Four Diamond hotel. To illustrate how the hotel and bistro save energy without negatively affecting guest comfort, he asks, “How is it a compromise for a guest to shower with water that is heated by the sun? Or, how is it a compromise for a bistro guest if his or her dishes are washed with solar heated water?”
Quaintance collaborated with his subcontractors on every little detail and personally tested most products. “We tested so many different toilets at home that our children were anxious to see what they called the ‘commode du jour’,” he says. “We finally found one that works wonderfully and uses a third of a gallon less with each flush, and it did not cost one cent more than a conventional toilet.”
The rigorous testing for a variety of water saving products is paying off. The hotel and restaurant is on track to use two million gallons less water during the first year, saving more than $13,000 by spending less than $7,000 in additional construction costs.
“I’ve come to believe that it is an urban legend that employing sustainable practices with new construction is too expensive,” concludes Quaintance. “We are very happy with the results, including the costs and returns, of everything that we did. It’s not easy — but it’s not hard. And it’s definitely worth it.”
Proximity and Print Works did not attain this milestone by just using less energy and water. They also:
- Recycled 87% of the construction debris (1,535 tons)
- Sourced over 40% of the building materials locally
- Used over 20% 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% of the occupied space
- Used elaborate energy recovery systems to provide large amounts of fresh outside air to all guests
- Sourced 90% of the furniture locally
- Commissioned local artists and craftspeople for original art in every guestroom, a cantilevered reception desk, spiral staircases in the lobby, furniture and accessories
- Plus more than 60 other sustainable practices
LEED certification covers energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. LEED verifies environmental performance, occupant health and financial return. LEED was established for market leaders to design & construct buildings that protect and save precious resources while also making good economic sense.
“Proximity Hotel is especially to be commended for achieving LEED Platinum. This facility is one that both the community and its guests can be proud of,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO, Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Proximity is a showcase for high-performance, energy-efficient, healthy environment, and an inspiration for others.”
Officials from the USGBC will present the LEED Platinum plaque to the Proximity and Print Works Bistro at a ceremony at the hotel on November 10. On that same day, Proximity will hold its second Sustainable Practices Symposium, a three-hour discussion and tour about the design and building process using the LEED criteria. There is no charge for attendance, but advance registration at www.proximityhotel.com is required.
Built and operated by Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, Print Works Bistro and Proximity Hotel are just a stone’s throw away from its sister businesses, Lucky 32 Kitchen and Wine Bar, Green Valley Grill and the Four Diamond O.Henry Hotel.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since UGSBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building rating systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.
The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a feature-oriented rating system that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria. The six major environmental categories of review include: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category. LEED can be applied to all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities.
Incentives for LEED are available at the state and local level and LEED has also been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED.
More About Sustainable Practices at Proximity and Print Works:
Here is a sampling of the 70+ sustainable practices at Proximity Hotel & Print Works Bistro:
- The building uses 41% less energy than a conventional hotel/restaurant by using ultra efficient materials and the latest construction technology.
- The sun’s energy heats hot water with 100 solar panels covering the 4,000 square feet of rooftop (enough hot water for a hundred homes).
- 700 linear feet of stream was restored by reducing erosion, planting local, adaptable plant species and rebuilding the buffers and banks. Approximately 700 cubic yards of soil was removed to create a floodplain bench. And 376 tons of boulders and 18 logs were used to maintain grade control, dissipate energy and assist in the creation and maintenance of riffles and pools.
- Tabletops in the Bistro are made of salvaged, solid walnut trees that came down through sickness or storm and room service trays made of Plyboo (bamboo plywood).
- Newly-engineered variable speed hoods in the restaurant uses a series of sensors to set the power according to the kitchen’s needs and adjusts to a lower level of operation (typically 25% of their full capacity). The sensors also detect heat, smoke or other effluents and increase the fan speed to keep the air fresh.
- Geothermal energy is used for the restaurant’s refrigeration equipment, instead of a standard water-cooled system, saving significant amounts of water.
- North America’s first Regenerative Drive model of the Otis’ Gen2 elevator reduces net energy usage by capturing the system’s energy and feeds it back into the building’s internal electrical grid.
- Abundant natural lighting, including large energy-efficient “operable” windows (7’4” square windows in guest rooms), connects guests to the outdoors by achieving a direct line of sight to the outdoor environment for more than 97% of all regularly occupied spaces.
- Building materials with recycled content include reinforced steel with 90% post consumer recycled content, sheetrock 100%, asphalt 25% and staircase steel 50%. Concrete contains 4% fly ash (224,000 pounds), the mineral residue left after the combustion of coal that is diverted from landfills.
- 87% of construction waste was recycled, diverting 1,535 tons of debris from landfills.
- Water usage has been reduced by 33% by installing high-efficiency Kohler plumbing fixtures, saving two million gallons of water the first year.
- Air quality improved by circulating large amounts of outside air into guestrooms (60 cubic feet per minute) and doing so in an energy efficient way by employing “energy recovery” technology where the outside air is tempered by the air being exhausted.
- Regional vendors and artists were used for materials to reduce transportation and packaging.
- Low-emitting volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, adhesives, carpets, etc reduces indoor air contamination.
- Guestroom shelving is made of walnut SkyBlend, particleboard made from 100% post-industrial recycled wood pulp with no added formaldehyde.
- A green, vegetated rooftop will be planted on the restaurant to reduce the “urban heat island effect.” In other words, the green roof reflects the heat, thus reducing the amount of energy needed for refrigeration and/or air conditioning. It also slows the rain runoff and insulates the rooftop, keeping the building cooler overall. Currently, we trying out various plants on the roof in a test area.
- “Education Center” for sustainable practices includes tours of our “green” hotel for guests and outreach programs for students of all ages.