Background: Reduce kWh with BEFORE / AFTER snapshots
Energized Case Study: Residential property purchased and new owners transform home on 200 acres into a value-add niche eco-friendly green hospitality business
In the mid '90s a young couple with an successful catering service based in Washington DC found an unusual Virginia property. It had an old historical celebrity home with a prior owner who had entertained lavishly in the '20s and hosted all kinds of important people including stars from the world of entertainment and respected political figures.
The main house had a huge dining area, dance floor, private guest rooms, balconies, elegant staircases, carriage house, and original working farm buildings.
How did they transform this unique property into a 1st-class experience for quests?
The historical main house was quickly changed into an event-based restaurant. The Carriage House was converted into a multi-purpose entertainment / conference room. A commercial kitchen was built between these two existing buildings.
Over the years a modern hotel was added with geothermal heating and cooling for guests. A modern sewage treatment plant was added using state of the art technology. Guests leave their cars on arrival and forget them until they leave. Walks, bikes and electric golf carts are used instead. Springs provide drinking water and watering stations are available throughout the 200 acres.
CFLs have replaced regular light bulbs in the hotel. Wi-Fi is now available. A spa using earth-friendly eco-products is enjoyed by many. The list goes on and grows as time passes. The owner had a new more energy efficient residence built on the property and bikes or walks to work!
Note: Some readers may recognize the property and have enjoyed its gradual transformation over the years. SsshhHHH! You do NOT want everyone to find it! The peace and quiet is just too enjoyable.
1) The benefits to guests are quieter rooms due to the geothermal systems. While visiting this unique location and being pampered by the staff, they also enjoy the benefits of a "greener" way of life. A break from the "car" if only for a few days really gets people to think about sustainability as a long term goal for our society.
2) The benefits to staff are many. Proud of where they work. Knowledgeable about the eco-friendly aspects of the property. Embracing continuous improvement - in 2009 the restaurant was certified green by a Virginia entity that monitors these processes.
3) The benefits to the husband and wife owners are multiple. Raising their children in an environment where they are naturally involved in more sustainable business practices. Long-term value of property increasing due to the nature of the improvements for sale at retirement.
The benefits are many and growing every day. What a difference just 2 people can make!
The rate of change at this unique location is increasing. Future options include community-based gardens as part of the "Buy Local" movement, educational conference center, adding "wind" energy to the equation (NOT the tall 3-prop designs), receiving eco-awards and increasing involvement / support by / from the local communities, expansion of events, catering to a larger (international) constituency, etc.
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