Repeatedly throughout my time as editor of Green Lodging News I have come across entrepreneurs—hotel owners—who spend more than is typical, even without government or utility help, to build highly efficient hotels. Yes, they recognize the business upside to going green—the lower energy, water, and waste costs—but there is usually something else driving that investment. I always try to ask what that is.
When I spoke with Sunny Dronawat this past week about his recently opened solar and soon to be wind powered La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham Louisville East (Kentucky), I asked him why he decided to build such a green hotel. He told me, “If you get a chance to do something like this, you do it. We would do it again, no question.” Certainly not a profound statement but I could sense he, a Managing Partner of the hotel, just genuinely cared about doing the right thing for the planet.
The La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham Louisville East is quite unique and an excellent example of “Wyndham Green” on display for all travelers to see. Wyndham Green is Wyndham Worldwide Corporation’s corporate social responsibility program. The LaQuinta property has 60 solar panels on its roof that generate 1.8 kilowatts of power. Soon to come are 10 1-kilowatt wind turbines that will also sit on the roof of the hotel. Together, the solar and wind systems will provide about 25 percent of the electricity the hotel needs.
Systems Will Complement One Another
Sunny told me 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.
In my article this coming week you will learn more about the green initiatives in place at the La Quinta Inn and Suites by Wyndham Louisville East—everything from 100 percent LED lighting to motion sensors to dispensers for shampoo, soap, and conditioner.
A hotel property with both solar and wind is rare. There may be just a few hotels in the entire country with both—if that. A big tip of the hat to Sunny and his other investment partners for investing in clean energy. May they set an example for many others to follow.
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