Rock Climbers Leap Into Hostel Business, ‘Crash’ Into LEED Platinum Along the Way

9/27/2012 By Glenn Hasek

CHATTANOOGA, TENN.—Outdoors-oriented travelers headed to the Chattanooga area for rock climbing, bicycling, kayaking and other activities can now stay in a hostel that is officially among the world’s greenest. Opened in June 2011, The Crash Pad just recently earned its LEED Platinum designation. According to the hostel’s owners, Max Poppel and Dan Rose, The Crash Pad is the only hostel on the planet to earn LEED Platinum. Only three other lodging establishments in the United States have earned LEED Platinum through the U.S. Green Building Council.

Located on one acre in downtown Chattanooga, The Crash Pad sits on a site where two structures previously existed. The newly constructed hostel is highly energy and water efficient. A precast insulated concrete wall system ensures energy efficiency and keeps sound from traveling from one room to the next. LED lighting is used throughout the facility. A five-panel solar array located on an awning above the hostel entrance provides 5 percent of the electricity needed annually. A green roof helps to insulate the building and capture rainwater, reducing storm water runoff.

Low-flow fixtures are used throughout the hostel that includes six super bunk areas (four beds in each area) and six private rooms. In guest bathrooms, greywater filtration systems filter sink water for reuse in toilet tanks. Toilets are dual-flush. Recycling is available to guests.

Work of Local Artists Featured

Throughout the hostel and outside of the building, art from local artists is featured. “Everywhere you look you see local art,” Poppel says. Plaques throughout the property explain green features. Wood from the structures that were demolished to make room for the hostel was used to make the beds and is found in countertops.

The journey to build a hostel in Chattanooga took seven years for Poppel and Rose, who first moved to the area for rock climbing.

“We started to notice there was no base camp for climbers,” Poppel says, adding that he and Rose visited from 30 to 40 hostels in preparing for their own hostel. “Chattanooga has a wealth of climbing. We thought first of a campground. We also started noticing downtown Chattanooga could use some affordable lodging. We created our own private urban oasis.”

Unique to the hostel is its boutique design feel and its rates. A bed in the bunk area will cost just $27 a night. A private room: $70.

Hostel Doing Well So Far

“Business has been amazing so far,” Poppel says.

The owners participate in the 1% for the Planet Program which encourages local businesses to contribute one percent of sales to environmental groups around the world.

Looking ahead toward 2013, the owners plan to open a bar in the spring on the property called the “Flying Squirrel.”  

Go to The Crash Pad for more details.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.


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