Forty 1° North: hip, cool and green in Newport
Newport, Rhode Island is a pretty classy place and should have, by all rights, first-rate hotels, and it does. One of them, the newly opened Forty 1° North, also happens to be green. Perfect.
Designed by DAS Architects of Philadelphia, the 28-room boutique hotel is located on the waterfront in the old historic section of Newport. The owners, according to project architect Dave Schultz, wanted to blend the history and feel of the region with the latest in cutting-edge architecture and sustainability.
"From the beginning they looked to do something new and fresh in Newport." he said of his clients, "and to set a forward-thinking high quality, eco-conscious trend."
The result is a thoughtfully conceived, beautifully executed property with many stand-out green amenities and design characteristics. There's a focus, for example, on guest education. Orientation begins at check-in where guests are given--and this is fantastic--an iPad to use during their stay. It delivers directories, menus, and maps and daily newspapers--all paperless! Very interactive, guests can link to neighborhood attractions, make reservations, order services and retrieve messages.
Guests will also notice the floor to ceiling operative windows in the lobby and their rooms. "We sized and positioned the windows to take advantage of the cool Newport breezes, and the public spaces are conditioned only on the hottest days," said Schultz. "The owners want the guests to experience the smell of fresh sea air and the prevailing winds."
There are many green features that the guests won't necessarily notice: 50 percent reduced energy consumption for lighting with LED and CFL light bulbs plus an abundance of natural light; FSC-certified wood for all the interior millwork, the exterior shingles and much of the furniture; a 40-percent water-use reduction through low-flow showerheads and dual-flush commodes; bike racks; and carpooling and dedicated hybrid car parking.
They may notice that the concrete used for walkways and plazas contains recycled glass and shells, which adds a beautiful reflective texture and reduces the amount of new cement needed. A side benefit is a reduced heat island effect.
They likely will notice that the Green Earth towels in the guest bathrooms are made from super-fine cotton that dry quickly after being used and washed, thus reducing energy costs.
The project is LEED registered with a hoped-for Silver certification. "We followed LEED guidelines balanced with economics and looked for strategies that had a reasonable payback period," noted Schultz. "Our longest payback is seven years - everything else comes in shorter than that, plus we found that three-fourths of the green initiatives didn't cost anything extra." Interestingly, the owners funded the LEED elements separate from the building and were easily able to track the green savings. Not satisfied, they are looking for new strategies such as adding wind power.
More owners just like this, please.