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The King’s Daughters Inn: A Green Getaway

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By moboyle, on June 27, 2011

Like Manal wrote in one of her earlier posts, I too love the opportunity to get out of the office—or in my case, out of my apartment, the coffee shop, or wherever else I may have set up shop for the day.

Last week, I got the chance to roam when the Green Plus team took a tour of The King’s Daughters Inn in Durham.  The hotel’s owners, Deanna and Colin, have transformed the hotel into a model of sustainability.  This was no small feat, as the hotel is a historic building, meaning Deanna and Colin had plenty of rules and regulations to contend with along the way.  Furthermore, the City of Durham has its own laws in place regarding renovations, which created even more hurdles for Deanna and Colin to jump.

For example, Deanna and Colin wanted to plant a rain garden, so they could reduce stormwater runoff and help native plants.  However, the city said it was impossible for the hotel to have one.  Deanna didn’t give us all the particulars, but the positioning of downspouts was an issue, as were soil absorption rates.  Deanna and Colin proved that a rain garden was indeed possible but the city still objected.  Although the inn got its rain garden in the end, Deanna and Colin were surprised by all the red tape.  They figured planting a rain garden would have been a much easier   task.

I find it incredibly frustrating that small businesses have to fight so hard for sustainability.  It seems to me the city should have been more supportive of Deanna and Colin’s efforts.  After all, the Durham City/County Sustainability Office aims to “[provide sustainability] guidance and resources to…employees, businesses, and citizens.”[1] I’m sure there’s more to this story than I realize—but I still think it’s a shame that organizations have to struggle so much just to do the right thing.

Although Deanna and Colin transformed the hotel to help the environment, the transformation has helped them too.  They save a whopping $24,000 a year with their energy management system.  Better still, guests don’t have to sacrifice comfort or quality for the sake of sustainability.  In fact, some guests are surprised to find they’re staying in a sustainable hotel, noting that the quality of the furnishings and the lighting is on par with—if not better than—standard hotels.

My shoddy digital camera doesn’t really do the hotel much justice but the pictures below give you an idea of the space.  For more information on Deanna and Colin’s sustainability efforts, click here and here.

Rain garden outside The King's Daughters Inn.
Deanna showing the Green Plus team the energy-efficient lighting in one of the guest rooms.
You can see the hotel's two solar panels on the eaves.

Thanks for reading!


[1] Information retrieved from the City of Durham website on June 26, 2011, http://www.ci.durham.nc.us/departments/manager/sustainability/Index.cfm
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