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Boone Tavern becomes first LEED certified hotel in Kentucky

March 11: Berea College today announced that Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant, a regional landmark owned and operated by the college, has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first LEED certified hotel in Kentucky and the Appalachian region, and one of 21 LEED Gold or Platinum hotels in America.

Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system was designed by the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage and facilitate the development of more sustainable buildings. It is the nation’s preeminent certification program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Boone Tavern, built by Berea College in 1909 as a campus guest house, has for decades been known for traditional hospitality and fine dining. After nearly 100 years of operation, the hotel underwent an $11.3-million renovation during 2008-2009 to make significant upgrades to the building’s infrastructure, improve efficiency, lower operating costs, and add modern technologies and other features for improved guest service and comfort. The overarching principle for the renovation was to maintain Boone Tavern’s historic character while creating a “green” hotel for the 21st century, and to do so in the most environmentally responsible way.

LEED Gold certification for Boone Tavern was based on a number of green design and construction features. The renovation earned points for sustainable site work, water and energy efficiency, materials and construction methods, indoor environmental quality, use of recycled and regional materials, and innovation in design processes. As a member of the Green Hotel Association, Boone Tavern’s ongoing operating practices also demonstrate a commitment to environmental responsibility – values shared by Berea College and today’s environmentally-conscious traveler.

As a building renovated to LEED standards, Boone Tavern both contributes to the college’s overall efforts to become a more sustainable campus as well as its educational mission, says Berea President Larry Shinn.

"Climate change education comes in many forms. We teach it in the classroom, by our College's commitment - and action - to reduce our carbon footprint, and by our many building renovations. Why not, then, renovate a 100-year-old hotel by LEED Gold standards and educate every guest about the value of each of us leaving a smaller environmental footprint? That is the educational goal behind the renovation of Berea's Boone Tavern Hotel."

By using less energy and incorporating other eco-friendly features, LEED-certified buildings save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment. About 35,000 buildings in all 50 states and 91 countries are currently participating in the LEED system. In Kentucky, 25 projects are officially listed as LEED certified.

“Building operations are nearly 40% of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” says Rick Fedrezzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “While climate change is a global problem, innovative colleges and universities like Berea College are addressing it through local solutions.”

The renovation’s success is the result of design and construction collaboration by Berea College, led by Steve Karcher, Berea’s vice president for business and administration; EOP Architects of Lexington, Ky., Richard Polk, AIA, LEED AP, Project Principal, and Alliance Corporation, the project’s construction manager. In 2004 Berea College and EOP Architects completed work on another historic building on campus, Lincoln Hall, the first LEED Certified building in Kentucky.

“This building, which like Lincoln Hall, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is proof that sustainable materials, technologies and practices can be successfully and cost effectively integrated into even the most challenging and historically sensitive projects,” said Richard Polk of EOP.

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