Idaho's Limelight Hotel secures LEED Silver certification

Exterior of the Limelight Hotel Ketchum

The Limelight Hotel Ketchum, based in downtown Ketchum, Idaho, was recently awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The property opened in December 2016 with 99 hotel rooms and 14 for-sale residences, three of which are still available for purchase. Throughout the building process, the teams implemented many sustainable features and practices in order to obtain the LEED certification, but the main goal was to develop a property that simply functions sustainably.

“To the town’s credit, LEED Silver was a requirement of the project. So we’re not bragging about that, we had to do it. What we’re proud of is where we went above and beyond code, above and beyond LEED,” Mark Vogele, project manager, Limelight Hotel Ketchum, said in a statement. “We focused on energy efficiency because that’s by far the most important piece of green building. We have R 42 walls and an R-70 roof, which is insane. We have double pane, low-e windows that have whole-window U value of 0.45. We have advanced mechanical systems with condensing gas boilers tied to a building automation system that turns off the heat when guest leave the room. It’s a really, really good building.”

Vogele notes that the glass uses a heat-rejecting technology to block solar gain and reduce air conditioning needs in the summer. Built-in shades help with the process as well. 

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“One of the coolest things about the whole project is that we capture 100 percent of stormwater and process it onsite—that means we filter it and send it directly into the ground without entering the municipal storm system, where it would have dragged in pollutants,” Vogele said.

As part of the project, Aspen Skiing Company was able to gain approval by the town to waive a requirement to snowmelt the entire city block with natural gas. Instead, the Limelight property will employ local workers to shovel the walks and avoid burning fossil fuels.

The property has an open lobby and living room.

The building also includes high-recycled-content materials throughout, including roof, carpeting and ceramic tiles as well as FSC-certified reclaimed wood on the outside. The property's interior space contains no toxic formaldehyde or any volatile organic compounds. 

In addition to constructing a green building, the Limelight Hotel Ketchum offers guests and employees the opportunity to donate to the Limelight Ketchum Community Fund that helps the Wood River Valley community thrive by supporting early childhood education, youth development, domestic-violence prevention, mental-health services and the environment. 

Other sustainably conscious hotel operations include using environmentally safe cleaning supplies, placing glasses in all bathrooms instead of plastic cups, as well as using refillable soap, shampoo and lotion dispensers rather than the traditional 1.5 oz bottles. The restaurant seeks to source 10-15 percent of its ingredients locally and works to stock canned beverages in the kitchen rather than bottles due to the lack of glass recycling in the region.

Debuting last December, the new Limelight Hotel Ketchum consists of 99 hotel rooms, 14 for-sale condominiums with 12 lock-off units and a new restaurant and lobby lounge. Modeled after the company’s existing property in Aspen, Colo., the hotel is in close proximity to downtown shops and restaurants as well as Sun Valley’s River Run Base area. The 14 residences are located on the property's fourth and fifth floors, ranging in size from two to five bedrooms and including views and high-level finishes. The Limelight’s open lobby and lounge flow together and have the feel of a large living room. The area hosts the Limelight’s signature breakfast, après ski and happy hour including live entertainment, a dinner menu and informal gatherings of guests and locals.