Guests at most hotels never give a second thought to the roof of the building. But at the Hampton Inn and Suites in the rural town of Roseburg, owner Bruce Hanna is encouraging his guests to learn about the significant environmental impacts being generated out of sight on the hotel’s roof every day.
Bruce saw many benefits in adopting renewable energy. Becoming a green business would help preserve the natural environment that provides jobs and attracts visitors to this southwest Oregon town while also reducing the hotel’s utility bill and attracting environment-conscious customers.
However, installing renewable energy systems comes with a high up-front cost that can make going green unattainable for many businesses. Hampton Inn and Suites Roseburg was able to offset some of the initial costs with the help of a Rural Energy for America Program grant from USDA Rural Development.
The hotel was able to install a high-efficiency 94-kilowatt solar array. This state-of-the-art renewable energy system, which was designed, constructed, and installed by Newcastle Solar and Day or Night Electric, is expected to offset 4 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years, the minimum lifespan of the solar panels. That’s the equivalent to planting 44,500 trees or reducing the distance driven in an average car by 6.2 million miles.
“This project is all about community leadership,” said David Longthorne, President of Newcastle Solar. Neighboring businesses are already taking note of its success and have been inspired to adopt renewable energy as well.
“We’re very proud of this project” said Bruce. A video showcasing the rooftop solar panels now plays in the hotel lobby, educating guests about the importance of environmental sustainability. Generating approximately 107,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity per year, the solar panels are also helping reduce the hotel’s utility bill by more than $9,000 per year, improving this rural business’s bottom line and helping it thrive.