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For a backcountry lodge, the Hike Inn is forward-thinking when it comes to conservation practices.


 
 

From the earliest architect’s sketches to today, everything about the Hike Inn is designed to ensure that we’re good stewards of Mother Nature’s precious resources. The inn was constructed on stilts to lessen our footprint on the mountaintop and we use recycled barrels to collect rainwater to irrigate our native plants and trees.

Being a non-profit, we also have to be good stewards when it comes to finding ways to lower our operating costs. Photovoltaic solar panels lowers our total electricity usage and the hot water at the bathhouse comes from a solar-thermal systems to lower our fuel costs as well as the inn’s carbon footprint. Odor-free composting toilets help save more than 200,000 gallons of valuable drinking water every year.

One of our most popular stops on our nightly tour of the Hike Inn is our worm beds, and vermiculture is one of our most valuable teaching tools. Instead of sending our organic waste to a landfill, the staff recycles it back into the soil using red wiggler worms — who can eat half their body weight a day in organic material. The beds compost everything from kitchen scraps to office paper, producing hundreds of pounds of valuable organic fertilizer.

Protecting Georgia’s natural resources is the core of our mission, but we believe everyone can do their part as well. People don’t necessarily come here for an education in nature and conservation, but we try to make sure they leave with one.

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Len Foote Hike Inn

achieves a major sustainability milestone in 2019.

LEED certification at the Platinum level

from the U.S.Green Building Council.

The recertification was upgraded from a Gold level certification (2004).

For more information on the LEED certification and 

Hike Inn Environmental Conservation and Sustainability ‘Light Footprint’ Initiatives click here.

 

Len Foote Hike Inn LEED Plaque presentation at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia (June 2019).  Mahesh Ramanujam, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Green Building Council, presented the LEED Platinum plaque to representatives of the Hike Inn and US Green Building Council Emerging Professional certification team. The Hike Inn earned an overall score of 84 out of a total of 100 points earning platinum certification, the highest level available. The certification process measures building performance in the following five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience. The Hike Inn scored the highest in the following categories: transportation – 14 of 14 points, human experience- 19 of 20 points, and energy – 29 of 33 points.

Len Foote Hike Inn LEED Plaque presentation at the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia (June 2019). Mahesh Ramanujam, President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Green Building Council, presented the LEED Platinum plaque to representatives of the Hike Inn and US Green Building Council Emerging Professional certification team. The Hike Inn earned an overall score of 84 out of a total of 100 points earning platinum certification, the highest level available. The certification process measures building performance in the following five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience. The Hike Inn scored the highest in the following categories: transportation – 14 of 14 points, human experience- 19 of 20 points, and energy – 29 of 33 points.

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We’re excited to announce our largest solar initiative since opening in November 1998 - dubbed appropriately “Above The Grid.”

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Although we’ve updated and added to our passive solar thermal water heating systems, we haven’t increased our photovoltaic capacity in fifteen years.

This new 53.72 kW(DC) photovoltaic solar system addition, installed by Radiance Solar, is significantly increasing our solar electric power at the Hike Inn, providing up to 69% of our annual electric energy needs.

A bi-directional meter was installed and the Above the Grid photovoltaic system was connected to the grid on July 27, 2017. Any extra solar energy produced the Hike Inn does not use enters into the grid for use down mountain. 

Guests have interactive opportunities to use and learn about solar energy during their stay and on our daily facility tour at 5:00pm.

We are able to monitor system production performance through SolarEdge monitoring platform.

Look here for monthly solar production updates:

September 2019 - 5.01 MWh

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For more information on our Above the Grid solar project visit Hike Inn News from our monthly newsletter 'FooteNotes':  

Announcing New Solar Initiative in 2017

Above the Grid Solar Installation Begins!

Above the Grid Began on the Trail

Above the Grid Catching the Summer Sun

2017 - Year of the Sun!

All of this would not be possible without the generous financial support of a grant from All Points North Foundation, a low interest loan from Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) and the commitment of our Len Foote Hike Inn Board of Directors. 

 
Hike Inn 2017 solar initiative "Above the Grid " installed by    Radiance Solar   . Generation capacity 53.72 kW (DC).

Hike Inn 2017 solar initiative "Above the Grid " installed by Radiance Solar. Generation capacity 53.72 kW (DC).

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