Left, the LEED Platinum-certified Proximity has
the style and amenities of the finest boutique
hotels, but what sets it apart is its natural lighting, fresh air, sustainable materials and real
Building a LEED-certified structure, especially at LEED’s highest rating level, is no
simple matter; it takes considerable planning
and commitment and a drive to accomplish
what few others have achieved. And to realize a
sizable energy savings over traditional hotels is
all the more remarkable. Hotel owner and chief
designer Dennis Quaintance views the Proximity as a work in progress, where he and his
staff continually seek ways to improve energy
efficiency while creating an attractive new landmark for the surrounding community.
A self-styled capitalist with several business
ventures in the Greensboro area, Quaintance
did not set out to build the nation’s greenest
hotel. Instead, his goal was to create a profitable hotel providing the highest level of guest
comfort and to do so with green technologies.
The Proximity has the style and amenities of the
finest boutique hotels you will find anywhere
in America, but what sets it apart is its natural lighting, fresh air, sustainable materials and
real energy savings. The Print Works Bistro, an
adjoining restaurant serving entrees made from
local ingredients, adds to the hotel’s charm.
In designing the Proximity’s solar water-heating system, owner and chief designer Dennis Quaintance says, “I wasn’t interested in green-washing; I wanted to see real results.” Below, 90 percent of
the furnishings are locally designed and constructed, and artists living in the community created
most of the artwork.
Benefit Bottom Line
Central to the Proximity’s green design is
its solar hot water system. In most hotels, water
heating consumes a huge amount of energy,
and if solar water heating is to be successful,
there must be an abundant supply of hot water
Facts: The Proximity Hotel and
Print Works Bistro, Greensboro, N.C.
Open for business: October 2007
Guest rooms: 147, each 400 to 950
square feet ( 37 to 88 square meters)
Meeting and event space: 5,000 square
feet (465 square meters)
Restaurants and Hotels, Greensboro, N.C.
Architect: Centrepoint Architecture,
Development cost: $29 million
to every room, 24 hours a day. The Proximity’s solar thermal system consists of 100
solar panels arrayed over a 4,000-square-foot
(372-square-meter) area, almost the entire
hotel rooftop. The system provides about 60
percent of hot water demand for both the
hotel and restaurant, with additional heating
provided by natural gas. In designing this and
other green features, Quaintance says, “I wasn’t
interested in green-washing; I wanted to see
In addition to solar water heating, Proxim-
ity includes many other green technologies:
• The nation’s first installation of an Otis
Gen2 regenerative-drive elevator system (otis
gen2.com), which captures energy when braking during descent, generating about a third of
elevator electricity needs.
• Oversized windows that are energy efficient and operable, providing natural lighting
to 97 percent of occupied space.
• The circulation of large quantities of
fresh outdoor air ( 60 cubic feet, or 1.7 cubic
meters, per minute) through guestrooms, made