In the heart of North Carolina, the stunning Proximity Hotel in Greensboro is serving up sustainability with a side of Southern hospitality. Surrounded by lush greenery and glowing with bright natural lighting, these accommodations are as generous to the environment as they are to their guests.
As the very first hotel in the United States to be awarded a LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, Proximity Hotel leads the way to a more sustainable South. Its status as an AAA Four Diamond luxury hotel only adds to its stellar reputation.
“We think that future generations are going to be pissed at our generation,” Dennis Quaintance said, the hotel’s CEO. “If we were to ask them what they thought about how we handle ourselves [now], they’d have a lot to say … One of them is, ‘We’re disappointed at the way you used natural and other resources … We’re using a fraction of the resources you used, and primarily, we’re using technology you invented.’”
“Thinking we didn’t want future generations in our family to say that about us, we decided to consider what we could do around sustainable practices that were truly sustainable – not just show-off sustainable stuff.”
According to their Sustainable Practices Guide, the main mission of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels is “To be of genuine service to our Guests, Fellow Staff Members, Owners (who are solely QW staff members), and the Earth & Her People.”
Proximity Hotel boasts over 70 different sustainability features and commitments across their sprawling and stately grounds. The hotel prioritizes material reuse, harnesses natural energy sources and educates their guests on the impact of living in harmony with the planet we all share.
Able to heat the water of 100 homes, 100 solar panels span across a 4,000-square foot roof. High-efficiency Kohler plumbing reduces water usage to about 33% throughout the property – more than just a drop in the bucket for a five-star hotel. And guests can ride the first Otis Gen2 Regenerative Drive elevator model in the United States, which “reduces net energy usage by capturing the system’s energy and feeds it back into the building’s internal electrical grid.”
Recycled and eco-friendly construction materials can be found at every turn, such as low VOC paints and accents containing SkyBlend, a recycled wood pulp blend used for shelving. Even 87% (1.5 tons) of the waste from the hotel’s construction was recycled.
Proximity Hotel registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, generally considered to be the gold standard for green building certifications. “We really didn’t care what we got,” Quaintance said of the ranking system. “We were idealistic but practical.” But after easily achieving a LEED Gold certification, the company reached Platinum with a few more additional sustainable practices added to their repertoire.
“Deprivation isn’t sustainable,” Quaintance said, “so we didn’t get to some sustainable credential by pissing people off that they don’t have enough hot water for their shower … We got to [LEED Platinum] by doing actual things … We didn’t do anything that was idealistic that didn’t have a practical angle, or vice versa.”
Proximity Hotel’s in-house restaurant, Print Works Bistro, is an extension of these commitments. Guests can enjoy Southern-style “farm-to-fork” favorites with locally-grown ingredients and a wide menu that can easily accommodate vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free choices. The bistro itself includes a repurposed walnut tree-wood bistro bar and Plyboo (plywood bamboo) serving trays. The kitchen even utilizes geothermal power, which cuts down on unnecessary water usage.
Besides their ongoing devotion to resource-friendly living, Proximity Hotel encourages diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. The company is also completely employee-owned. The hotel’s “Educational Center” also offers guests tours of the grounds, highlighting its dozens of sustainability aspects.
“We think that romance is sustainable,” Quaintance added. “Life without it isn’t a real wonderful, sustainable journey. Now with business travel [lessening], we got more ambitious about improving Proximity as a romantic getaway place.” Recently, the company has started offering more romance-inspired packages and date night packages for guests to enjoy — centering around their commitment to the planet and its people, of course.
A North Carolina landmark of sustainability and hospitality, Proximity Hotel truly puts the “Green” in Greensboro. For more information, visit https://www.proximityhotel.com.