HENDERSON, KY.—The Envi Boutique Hotel, located in Henderson, Kentucky, is proof that an old, tired hotel that has seen its share of flags can not only survive but thrive as a shiny, totally renovated green hotel striving to be greener.
According to Kiran Patel, owner of the property, the 54-room hotel was first opened in 1967 as a full-service Holiday Inn. It later was converted to a Best Western and finally two other brands before being renovated into the Envi Boutique Hotel in June of this year. “In 1994 we purchased the property and was with Super 8 for 23.5 years,” Patel says.
The most striking part of the renovation is the hotel’s new roof which went from flat to angled metal with a 100kW solar panel system that supplies 70 percent of the electricity the hotel needs. It prevents 150,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year; equivalent to 1,100 trees per year planted. Patel is benefiting from a federal tax credit for the solar system.
Patel said he and his wife were trying to figure out how to better market their property to travelers in tune with current trends. They asked themselves, “How can we attract a new generation to our business?”
“As conservative as I am, I like the environment and to try to keep things the way they are,” Patel adds. “Our occupancy rate and ADR is a lot stronger, and our guests talk about [the solar]. It creates conversation.”
“It really caters to the visitor looking for more of a green stay,” says Abby Dixon, Executive Director of Henderson Tourism Commission.
Many Other Updates Made, Planned
The solar panels are just part of the renovation that also includes LED lighting throughout the property, including the parking lot. Patel started a recycling program that currently has a 25 percent conversion rate but with a goal of 50 percent by next year. Recycling bins will soon be added in all guestrooms. The in-house laundry was updated and now includes an extractor with 400g force and an ozone laundry system that kills 99 percent of germs while saving on chemicals, energy and water while extending linen life. The smart dryer features humidity control which reduces overheating and linen replacement.
Water fixtures are low-flow, water heaters are tankless and guestroom heating and cooling is controlled by an energy management system. Blackout drapery helps to reduce guestroom temperature changes and window film is planned. Two EV charging stations are on the way by the end of this year and the Patels are planning to replace single-use amenity bottles with bulk dispensers. If guests opt out of housekeeping room rates are discounted.
The Envi Boutique Hotel is in an ideal location with the John James Audubon State Park, just a mile up the road. It features the largest collection of Audubon originals in the world. “We see a lot of birders here,” Dixon says. Patel adds that the utility owned by the city of Henderson will have a 50 MW solar system up and running by the end of 2022.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.