Home Publisher's Point of View Wisconsin’s Hotel Verdant: Truly a Renewable Energy All Star

Wisconsin’s Hotel Verdant: Truly a Renewable Energy All Star

Glenn Hasek

Within the Renewable Energy All Stars section of Green Lodging News, I list lodging establishments that have invested in wind, solar, geothermal, or hydroelectric technologies. In all the years I have been building those lists I have never come across a property with systems in three of those four categories. So, a big shout out this week to Dominion Properties for its Hotel Verdant which has solar, geothermal and wind. I wrote and posted an article about the downtown Racine, Wisconsin hotel this past week.

It was Dominion Properties’ Co-Principal Michael O’Connor who filled me in on all the great initiatives going on at the hotel. Dominion Properties previously earned LEED Platinum, the highest level of LEED certification, for two of its multifamily buildings in southeastern Wisconsin. Hotel Verdant just received its LEED Gold certification.

Hotel Verdant is not a new-build. The 80-room property is the result of a renovation of the Zahn’s Department Store building, a shopping destination popular with residents since 1898. The building had sat empty for 40 years. O’Connor said local officials were very excited about the coming of a new hotel to downtown Racine, knowing that hotels tend to bring new energy—exponential business—to downtown neighborhoods. Hotel Verdant qualified for historic tax credits and PACE financing was used. No bank financing was used for the $42 million hotel project.

Renewable Energy Trio

The all-electric hotel’s geothermal system includes 24 wells that extend 400 feet below the property to tap into the heat that is in the Earth’s crust. The loop of water circulating through these wells is the “fuel” used by the variable flow heat pumps that heat and cool the property.

On the green roof of the hotel is a 49.32 kW solar system which O’Connor says has been producing great returns so far. It was commissioned in late September of last year. There is room to add more panels in the future to the system that meets about 20 to 25 percent of the hotel’s electricity needs. Also on the roof are two vertical access wind turbines.

Dominion Properties took every step possible to maximize insulation, including using mineral wool insulation. LED lighting is used throughout. A sensor-based energy management system ensures guestroom heating and cooling are not on unnecessarily.

Bicycles are available for borrowing and electric vehicle (EV) drivers will find two chargers in front of the hotel and eight in a nearby parking garage. There are plans to add six more in one nearby lot and six more in another. On August 10, Hotel Verdant will host a Green Racine EVent that will include a display of electric vehicles, a green trade show, and tours of the hotel. A week of community-centric activities will lead up to the EVent.

Low-flow fixtures ensure a high level of water efficiency and the hotel’s green roof diverts 8,000 gallons of water from the sewage system each time it rains by holding the water in the soil.

To eliminate single-use plastic waste, dispensers are used in guestroom bathrooms for body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. No plastic cups or plastic to-go containers are used, and to-go utensils are made from bamboo. Water is available in glass bottles throughout the property and in the hotel’s restaurant, Marguerite. Hotel Verdant is currently piloting a composting program with the help of a local business, Compost Crusader.

Be sure to read the Hotel Verdant article to learn more.

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