USGBC Project Profile

Proximity Hotel – Green Luxury

Proximity Hotel Melds Green Building with Luxurious Amenities

PROJECT BACKGROUND The fi rst hotel in the nation to achieve LEED Platinum, the 147-room Proximity Hotel houses 5,000 square feet of conference and event space and a full-service restaurant. With a Four Diamond Rating, the hotel proves that green building and luxury are not mutually exclusive. The hotel’s high level of environmental performance was not initially a goal, says owner and developer Dennis Quaintance, but stemmed from making practical decisions with an eye for long-term value. “Almost every time we made a decision, we saw that there was a sustainable approach that was also practical.”

Of the materials in the building, 46 percent were sourced regionally and most of the furniture was made within 18 miles of the site. The bar in the restaurant was made from salvaged, native walnut trees brought down by storm or disease. Chip Holton, the artist-in-residence for the project, created 500 pieces of art for the guest rooms while working in a temporary studio adjacent to the hotel. This eliminated the need for packaging materials and shipping, lowering the environmental impact of the artwork.

The energy performance of the Proximity Hotel begins with demand reductions. A well insulated building envelope and high-performance, operable windows reduce heating and cooling needs. Regenerative-drive elevators generate electricity as they descend, providing much of the energy needed for ascent. Overall, the hotel uses 39% less energy than a similar hotel constructed to code.

Ventilation and refrigeration needs, among other things, make most kitchens energy hogs. Variable-speed vent hoods in the kitchen of the Print Works Bistro adjust to meet the ventilation needs of the space, typically operating at only 25 percent of their full capacity. Instead of a standard refrigeration system, an energy-efficient ground-source heat-pump refrigeration system exchanges waste heat with groundwater loops.

The hotel also uses 33 percent less water than a comparable building. Low-flow toilets that use 1.2 gallons per flush, waterless urinals, and low-flow faucets all contribute to water savings. Solar thermal panels on the roof provide 60 percent of the hotel’s water heating needs.

Quaintance estimates that environmental goals added between $1.5 and $2 million to the budget, but that the green strategies will pay for themselves in under four years. The water savings alone, which Quaintance estimates cost $7,000, saved the company $13,000 in the first year of operations. Overall, Quaintance expects to save $140,000 a year in utility costs.

Dennis Quaintance and Mike Weaver together own the Quaintance-Weaver family of companies in Greensboro, North Carolina. The companies own four restaurants and two hotels, and are focused on providing high-quality service while supporting the local community

The LEED® green building certification system™ is the national benchmark for the design, construction, and operations of high-performance green buildings. Visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s Web site at to learn more about LEED and green building

LEED ® Facts
Proximity Hotel
Greensboro, North Carolina
LEED for New Construction v2.2 Certification awarded October 6, 2008
Platinum 55*
Sustainable Sites 12/14
Water Efficiency 4/5
Energy & Atmosphere 16/17
Materials & Resources 6/13
Indoor Environmental
Quality 12/15
Innovation & Design 5/5
*Out of a possible 69 points The information provided is based on that stated in the LEED® project certification submittals. USGBC and Chapters do not warrant or represent the accuracy of this information. Each building’s actual performance is based on its unique design, construction, operation, and maintenance. Energy efficiency and sustainable results will vary.

“If you’d told me that we could build a luxury hotel and save 39% energy, I would have said maybe. If you’d told me that we could use 33% less water and still maintain the luxury, I would have said no way.”

-Dennis Quaintance, Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels

Proximity Hotel with lake and solar panels

Architect: Centrepoint Architecture
General contractor: Weaver Cooke Construction
Interior design: Bradshaw Orrell Interiors
Designer and artist: Douglas Freeman Artworks
Artist in residence: Chip Holton
Mechanical engineer & contractor: Superior Mechanical, Inc.
Electrical contractor: Johnsons Modern Electric Company
Landscape architect: Callaway & Associates
Project Size: 102,000 square feet
Total Project Cost: $28 million
Cost Per Square Foot: $275
Photograph Courtesy of: Mark File/Proximity Hotel

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