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Kentucky La Quinta Inn a Rarity with Its Commitment to Solar & Wind Power


LOUISVILLE, KY.—Sunny Dronawat, Managing Partner of the La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham Louisville East, along with his partners, recently opened one of the country’s only solar and wind powered hotels and certainly the only one in Kentucky.

The 94-room hotel, which had its soft launch on January 1, is doing well so far, Dronawat says. “We want to make sure every room is perfect,” he says. The property’s official opening will depend on how quickly the economy opens.

Unique to the hotel is its 60 solar panels on its roof, each of which generates 300 watts for a total of 1.8 kilowatts. The investment in renewable energy was Dronawat’s idea, he says. Coming soon to the rooftop are 10 1-kilowatt wind turbines. Together, the solar and wind systems will provide about 25 percent of the electricity the hotel needs.

The solar and wind systems will complement one another. On windy days it is typically cloudy which reduces the amount of power generated by the solar panels. Also, the wind is available all day and night. The electricity generated by the solar panels will directly power the hotel. Kentucky does not allow you to sell power back into the grid. Electricity generated by the wind turbines will be stored in a battery pack and then be used by the hotel.

Done Without State Incentives

Dronawat says his team wanted to be the first in Kentucky to have solar and wind systems. “Unfortunately, Kentucky does not give any incentives,” he says. The extra dollars invested in solar and wind as well as many other green projects at the hotel made good business sense and Dronawat says he would do it again, no question. “If you get a chance to do something like this, you do it,” he says.

The La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham Louisville East is an excellent example of “Wyndham Green” on display for all travelers to see. Wyndham Green is Wyndham Worldwide Corporation’s corporate social responsibility program.

In addition to the rooftop clean energy systems, also making the hotel energy efficient are LEDs throughout and motion sensors that power down the AC or heat when guests leave the guestroom. Motion sensors also turn lights off in offices, laundry and other back of house areas.

The owners recycle what they can and dispensers in guestrooms eliminate the wasteful individual plastic bottles. Low-flow fixtures keep water costs down and local vendors are used where possible to support the local economy.

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