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Monday, June 29, 2009

Green inn will be first of its kind in Midwest

From an article in Walworth County Today:

DELAVAN TOWNSHIP — A totally "green," 19-room, luxury bed and breakfast inn being developed in Delavan Township will be the first of its kind in the Midwest.

The Green Leaf Inn, located off Wisconsin Highway 50 and west of Wisconsin Highway 67, plans to open in the summer of 2010 and will make Walworth County a major point of interest for the burgeoning eco-tourist movement.

The Inn will incorporate green energy sources, renewable and sustainable materials and practices, and environmentally responsible land and water use, according to a news release

That is the goal of Catherine McQueen and Fritz Kreiss, the owners of the Green Leaf. The couple has been in the energy industry for more than 17 years, and has been involved with the green energy movement from the start of their professional partnership, but the hospitality industry is a whole new field for them. With the Green Leaf, they've jumped in feet first."

"Walworth County is a wonderful location," Kreiss said. "Within easy driving distance to the three major population centers in the area (Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison), yet still relatively unspoiled. Lake Geneva was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area in the 20th Century. We want to set the stage to keep it that way in the twenty-first."

Their goal is to meet the highest standards for green building in all aspects of the Inn's design and construction. The list of technologies and practices involved has proven to be daunting. "We had a background in green energy: solar, wind, geothermal, biomass," says McQueen. "One of our early business ventures involved combined heat and power (CHP) units. But sustainable building, sustainable landscaping, water use, renewable materials, low-impact practices...we've put together quite a list of things to consider." With no previous experience in the hospitality industry, they've also had to learn about aspects of zoning and permitting that were new to them.

"We want the Green Leaf Inn to be a learning center," says Kreiss. "I think we can say it has already succeeded in that respect."

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