New Hampshire hotel goes green

At the base of Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, The Glen House has opened as a new 68-room eco-conscious hotel.

The original Glen House opened in 1852, followed by three more iterations until the present hotel opened late in 2018. BMA Architects & Planners of Amherst, N.H., used clapboards and shakes on the exterior—albeit HardiePlank Lap Siding and HardiePlank Shakes, made of fiber cement, with white trim in a style similar to its predecessors.


The Glen House is close to energy self-sufficient and carbon-neutral, with a geothermal system that utilizes 30 wells that have been drilled 500-feet deep. These wells provide the energy to heat the hotel in winter and cool it in summer, using energy naturally stored in the ground. Using a closed loop system, a water and antifreeze mix is circulated through these wells and into the quiet heat pumps in each room and common areas, providing heating and cooling without burning fossil fuels or running conventional air conditioning compressors. The hotel’s walk-in refrigerators and freezer also take advantage of the geothermal system to exhaust their heat into the ground.

Building insulation is a combination of spray foam and rigid panels, which provides a very high "R" value, making the building even more efficient.

LED lighting is standard throughout the hotel, from the smallest decorative fixtures to the parking lot lighting, which further reduces energy consumption.

All outdoor lighting is Dark Sky Compliant, which means that all light is pointed toward the ground and not into the sky, which helps preserve the night sky.

Elevators are Otis Gen2 models that regenerate energy when the car is moving down, returning energy to the building to use in other places.

A new hydro generator also produces around 80 percent of the electric needs of the neighboring Great Glen Lodge activities center across the street. An additional generator using the same water and source will produce an additional 20 kWh of energy for The Glen House.

Irrigating the hotel’s landscape of flowers, shrubs, trees and grass is done using a gravity feed from this same water system.

The waterworks is also used for snowmaking and fire safety purposes.

Green Interiors

The interior design of the hotel, created by Stibler Associates of Bedford, N.H., drew upon the Shakers, with vintage woven baskets and artifacts of the local Abenaki Native Americans tribe and north woods culture seen throughout. In the 68 guestrooms, guests can see Shaker inspiration in the mill work and clean lines. As for the Abenaki influence, the interior design team used some of their weaving patterns in the flooring, the tile design and in the guestroom carpeting.

Bathrooms have refillable pump bottles for body wash, shampoo and conditioner. There are no in-room coffee makers, which are energy inefficient and create waste. Instead, coffee and tea service is offered in the lobby.

Stibler Associates also oversaw the artwork, inspired in large part by the earlier hotels and the history of auto racing up the Mount Washington Auto Road. There is a 30-foot long sepia toned photographic mural of a Mount Washington auto race in the lobby and a 30-foot long wall sculpture of the Presidential Range in the lounge that incorporates ropes and carabiners to identify points of interest in the area.

Guestroom corridors feature canvas-wrapped vintage photos of the previous iterations of The Glen House and the Auto Road.

In the lounge, the traditional north country moose head over the fireplace is instead a brightly colored fabric rendition of a moose head. Public spaces also have water fountains designed for filling reusable water bottles.

Meanwhile, the outdoor fire pit uses propane, not wood, to help maintain the Class I air quality standard found in the Great Gulf Wilderness area, the valley that lies just west of the hotel.

In the near future, The Glen House intends to install solar photovoltaic arrays to add to their onsite energy production.

Also involved in the design and building of The Glen House were contractors Martini Northern of Portsmouth and subcontractors Ray's Electric of Berlin, Granite State Plumbing and Heating of Weare, Yeaton Associates of Littleton and GB Carrier Corp of North Conway.

Photo credit: The Glen House