TRUCKEE, CALIF.—Located more than a mile high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, the Cedar House Sport Hotel has been very well received since it opened in mid-2006. Business is good and the owners of the 42-room property have successfully staked their claim as developers of one of the most environmentally efficient buildings around.
Ironically, the owners—the husband and wife team of Jeff and Patty Baird—had never run a hotel or inn prior to opening their Truckee-based property. They have significant travel experience, however, especially in Europe, and learned a lot about how a hotel should operate. With that knowledge and their experience in construction management—they have run a construction business for 30 years—they planned the Cedar House Sport Hotel.
A visitor to the property will quickly notice how the hotel blends in with the natural environment. All of the cedar exterior siding and logs were acquired from a reforestation project. The steel used in the structure is recycled. A retention pond in front of the entrance captures rainwater for later use. A green roof that features native perennials such as wild strawberries sits above the reception and check-in area. The roof helps to reduce storm run-off. Rustic rain chains hang from the roof, channeling rain water to the lower garden.
Attention Paid to Indoor Air Quality
The foundations for the three guest buildings were already in place when the Bairds purchased the property. All materials used in interior spaces were installed and then left to the open air for a month after installation to allow for off-gassing prior to occupation. Interior features include low-VOC carpeting and draperies, paper-based countertops, and wall-mounted low-flow toilets. To heat hot water, the hotel utilizes a tankless boiler system. Each guest building was designed to minimize the distance from water heater to showerhead. Because the temperature of the water entering the property can be quite low, a separate boiler system was added to warm the water to lukewarm before it enters the tankless heaters. The tankless system runs off of natural gas but at any time it can be converted to solar power.
A hydronic in-floor heating system, which transfers heat from water that runs through a closed system of pipes, keeps each guestroom at about 62 degrees. A secondary system is available to guests wishing to raise that temperature to higher comfort levels.
Throughout the hotel, fluorescent, LED and other low-voltage lighting, as well as occupancy sensors, keep energy costs down. Low-flow plumbing fixtures from Europe help conserve water, and nontoxic cleaning products help keep air quality pure.
“Our linens are all from Germany,” Patty Baird says. “The comforters we use are impenetrable to dust mites. Everything—including the comforters—is washed with every guest change.”
With the Cedar Sport House Hotel, the Bairds have found a way to offer guests a luxury experience while being environmentally responsible at the same time. Patty says it is the first-class service that keeps guests coming back again and again—not just the fact that the hotel is “green.”
“Our repeat business is based on the service our guests receive,” she emphasizes.
Go to the Cedar Sport House Hotel.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.