Proximity Hotel: The Greenest Hotel in America
Written By: John Shimkus
You don’t get much more elegant and luxurious than the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, but add eco-friendly to the mix and you’ll sleep extra sound. The Proximity uses 36 percent less electricity and 30 percent less water than comparable luxury hotels and is LEED Platinum certified: the highest institutionalized standard of green building certification in America.
The 147-room hotel features custom designed furnishings, locally commissioned art, and various unique sustainable design aspects. North America’s first regenerative drive Gen2 elevator system has been installed at the Proximity hotel, which captures the elevator’s energy and feeds it back into the building’s electricity grid for added efficiency. There are 100 solar panels mounted on the roof to generate electricity to heat water. However, the building was specifically designed not to hinder the overall luxury of the hotel, and guests are none-the-wiser to the energy saving capabilities of the Proximity.
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The hotel rooms themselves feature giant 50-square-foot windows to promote natural light. Room service and the hotel restaurant use local food to create traditional dishes as well as signature European bistro-style cuisine. The kitchen uses a sensor-controlled ventilation system and geothermal energy for refrigeration equipment. Dining tables are made from reclaimed walnut.
The reinforced steel used in the Proximity’s construction is made of 90 percent post-consumer recycled content. 75 percent of the hotel’s waste is recycled, and the walls and floors feature low-VOC paints, carpets and adhesives. The Proximity is even planning a green rooftop, featuring vegetation to reduce heat absorption in the building.
So if you find yourself in Greensboro, North Carolina and want to stay somewhere both luxurious and eco-friendly, be sure to visit the Proximity Hotel: the greenest hotel in America.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
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Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly