One of our InnVirginia member inns, Oak Grove Plantation, has been receiving a great deal of attention lately for their extraordinary eco-friendly efforts. As stated on their website, this “historic inn aims to attract environmentally conscious guests…with the first solar photo-voltaic system to generate clean electricity at a Virginia Bed & Breakfast.” If you are wondering what exactly a “solar photo-voltaic system” is, this type of technology converts sunlight into energy. The process thus produces no hazardous waste or pollution, and it doesn’t require any fuel other than sunlight: “Photovoltaic systems allows you to generate electricity and store it for use when needed… This energy source is free, clean and highly reliable. PV systems are long-lasting and require little maintenance” (Solar Direct).
The installation of this system coincides with the decision of the owners, Mike and Pickett, to protect Oak Grove’s 400 acres under the Virginia Land Conservation Incentives Act. This means that their land will never be used for any sort of commercial development, preserving not only its natural beauty and wildlife habitats, but also the history of the plantation. Oak Grove has been run by Pickett Craddock’s family since 1820, and the juxtaposition of the solar panels and the forested surroundings makes for a poignant melding of past and present: “Our guests will be able to sip lemonade on the front porch as my ancestors once did, then tour the 25 by 10 feet lineup of solar panels in the back field” (Going Solar).
Along with the photo-voltaic system and the land conservation, Mike and Pickett have also made other efforts to go green at their inn. These efforts include a compost pile, “energy-efficient storm windows,” rain barrels to collect water, a “tankless electric hot water heater,” and a clothesline to dry all on site laundry.
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