Green Hotel in Greensboro

The Proximity Hotel proves you don't have to compromise style for sustainability.
Jennifer V. Cole
The Right Approach in Greensboro
John O'Hagan

It’s a typical stay at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina. You wake up in Egyptian cotton, glance out the window of your spacious loft-inspired room, shower using Aveda toiletries, ride the elevator down to the lobby, and dine in the airy Print Works Bistro. Sounds typical for a luxury hotel--but it’s not. Everything you passed or used was put there with a Green idea in mind. The window measures 50 square feet to allow for unmitigated natural light. The shower utilizes high-efficiency Kohler faucets to reduce water usage by 33%. The elevator is an Otis Gen2 regenerative model (the descent generates power for the ascent). And the restaurant serves locally sourced, sustainable foods.

You’d be forgiven for not realizing it, but you’re in the Greenest hotel in America. It is the first--just announced in September--to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Gone are the days when Green equaled Birkenstocks and granola. Every inch of this eco-chic model has been designed for the discerning traveler, from ambient lighting to bathrooms to artwork. Hotel designer and local owner Dennis Quaintance didn’t leave the creature-comfort decision-making to some arbitrary panel of experts--he tested all of the bathroom fixtures and bedding in his own home. This 147-room hotel is where eco goes hand in hand with luxe, and the devil revels in the details. Dennis says it best: “It’s conservation, not deprivation.”

Proximity Hotel: or (336) 379-8200. Rooms from $239.

Green on the Go
You may not always be able to find a LEED-certified hotel during your travels, but here are a few ways you can be a more responsible guest, no matter where you lay your head.

Flip the switch: Save energy by turning off the air conditioning/heat, lights, and TV when you leave.
Summer shade: Close your curtains in summer to keep out the heat of the sun; open them in winter to allow warmth into your room.
Hitch a ride: Use public transportation or the hotel’s shuttle service whenever possible.
Pass it on: If complimentary newspapers are provided, place them in the lobby or lounge for others to read when you’re done.
Lather, rinse, recycle: Carry your own soap and shampoo in refillable bottles. Leave any unopened hotel toiletries behind to help reduce packaging waste.
Friday night lights: Pack a night-light to use in lieu of leaving the bathroom light on--it’s more energy efficient.