By Michelle Harrison
Vermont is a beautiful state with many areas to explore. As a reader of Green Energy Times, finding locations with a sustainable focus for lodging, a retreat, or special event is of high interest. If your travels bring you to the Mad River Valley in the center of the state, the West Hill House B&B is the perfect choice. You should feel great staying here as it is recognized as a Green Hotel in Vermont since 2008, has received the distinction as a Green Leader at the Gold Level by Trip Advisor and has been voted as one of New England’s best repeatedly by BedandBreakfast.com. West Hill House B&B is a member of Select Registry’s Distinguished Inns of North America and is part of the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection. Innkeepers, Peter and Susan MacLaren take environmental stewardship very seriously in their daily operation.
The West Hill House B&B and Retreat Center is a historic 1850’s home which was made into a bed and breakfast in the early 1980’s. In 2006, Peter and Susan MacLaren purchased the home. For the past eight years, Peter and Susan have introduced major initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of the property such as:
Installing a high efficiency condensing propane boiler to replace the oil boiler and propane water heaters.
Adding a rooftop solar hot water pre-heating system which supplies two-thirds of the hot water demand year round.
Installing complimentary EV charging stations for guests. There are two 240V 80A chargers for Teslas and a 240V J1772 at 40A for other EVs. An EV can be completely recharged overnight. The implementation of the Tesla chargers allows the West Hill House B&B to be a great destination for people traveling from afar.
Becoming the largest private investor in the Poultney, VT solar farm which is designed and built by Same Sun of Vermont. West Hill House B&B owns 26% of the array totaling just under 30kW peak power. This covers 100% of their electric power needs including the EV chargers!
Taking advantage of a group net metering opportunity was ideal, as the West Hill House B&B is surrounded by many trees. A solar PV system on their property would not be very efficient. It is estimated that the payback period for the solar project is less than ten years with the tax credits. Over the twenty-five year life of the system, the West Hill House B&B will offset approximately 470 tons of carbon dioxide.
“It’s very important for us to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. An investment of this scale into a solar farm is a great complement to our Tesla-designated charging stations. It’s very important to our many Tesla driving guests to know that when they are charging their vehicle and enjoying overnight hospitality, a minimal impact on the environment is being made,” said West Hill House B&B Co-Owner Peter MacLaren.
“We also hope that we can set an example for other Vermont businesses and show that not only do green technologies make sense economically and environmentally, but you can also support local green energy companies,” MacLaren said.
The West Hill House B&B has also made many other initiatives throughout the years. Main entrances have an air-lock entry (double door system) to minimize drafts. Food waste is composted through a service where it is processed and sold to farmers and gardeners. High efficiency light bulbs are used throughout the facility. The Handsome Red Barn on the facility is used for events year round thanks to insulation improvements. A shuttle bus is provided in the winter for those guests wishing to ski at the local resorts.
Another perk of staying at the West Hill House B&B is the complimentary, reusable water bottles given to every guest. Peter and Susan encourage visitors to use the reusable water bottles and drink the beautifully tasting water from their spring-fed well instead of using bottled water.
The West Hill House B&B has a well-established environmental policy and environmentally-friendly purchasing policy which are shared on its website. Whether you come from within the state or far away, the West Hill House B&B can accommodate your needs with sustainability in the forefront.