Stay-ing "Green" in BaltimoreMany of my clients and colleagues know with certainty that my support of their facilities means numerous weekly trips overnight hotel stays.  I have been asked on numerous occasions if I inspect the room I am issued with the same intensity as the facilities I support.  The answer is yes, it is the curse of the occupation.  I have some very scary hotel stories and appearances that I have brought to the attention of the hotel upon check-in and throughout the duration of my stay.  I tend to stay where I am familiar with the history and the quality of the sanitation processes.  I do not stay in any one particular chain of hotels.  As you can imagine I am on a first name basis with many of the porters and maids where I stay.

During my recent stay in Baltimore I had a very different experience and I would like to share that with you.  I have been commenting recently on how far do we need to go in providing “Green Practices” in our organizations.  Well I have to say the Inn at the Black Olive in Baltimore has gone as far as one can imagine in not only providing “Green Practices” but in building an Inn nearly a decade ago that exemplifies “Green Above and Beyond Practices”.

First of all during the construction of the Inn 27 wells were drilled a total of 406 feet into the earth allowing the Inn to tap into a Geo-Thermal energy source to supplement the heating requirements.  The resulting energy source has saved 70% of traditional heating and cooling cost.

The floors of the Inn are of concrete with woven area rugs from Greece.  The concrete prior to mixing and setting is autoclaved to remove any organic or inorganic cells that may promote growth of mold or other bacteria.  This  “Green Practice” is known as aerated autoclaved concrete (AAC).

The walls throughout the Inn are Eccostucco Limestone which are naturally antibacterial and prevent mold growth by being vapor permeable.  The nature of the limestone also neutralizes tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the material.  The ancient plastering technique of Tadelakt is evident everywhere throughout the Inn whereby oil soap is applied to the final coating allowing the walls to become totally water resistant, antibacterial and preventing mold from formulating.  One hundred percent natural and responds well to neutral cleaners and natural products.

The furniture is custom made of bamboo from LEED certified manufacturing firms using renewable woods with absolutely no VOC content in finishing, all surfaces are natural and are cleanable with damp wiping with plain water and neutral cleaning solutions.  Every furniture piece and fixture are designed and constructed by internationally recognized Scot Donovan, guru of green furnishings.

The king ergonomically designed mattress is 100% organic and is a custom design and product of Cheryl Hahn, a custom mattress designer and manufacturer in nearby Virginia.

The towels are 100% Turkish cotton and do not contain any pesticides or elements of chemicals during processing.  They are good on the earth and body.

After three nights of stay at this Inn I have to admit I felt a greater sense of stewardship and healthier as a result of the thought and design that went into the Organic Paradise.  The HVAC system was multi-filtered prior to entering the duct distribution system, it was refreshing and rewarding to take deep breaths as the air left the vents.  The water at the taps was multi-filtered also with charcoal with three times the purity of a Britta filtration; I thought my room coffee tasted better.

The Inn host only 12 suites but has a long waiting list as you can imagine.  I applaud the forward thinking, design and outcome of this wonderful place.  I interviewed the Housekeeper and of course spied on the cleaning cart and closet only to find natural cleaners and “Green” product inventory, all surfaces prevent adhering soils and repel staining.  What is also amazing is that the Inn provides a catalog by which you can order for your home or office everything mentioned in this article.

This is my first experience in seeing a truly “Green” building designed with “Green” in mind from 450 feet underground up to the roof.  This Inn answers the question of how to clean and maintain “Green”.  It must be designed “Green” just like my Performance-Q-base™ process success is derived from the design process not the outcome process.

Hope this article improves respect for facilities of “Green Practices” among us.

John M. Moran