GreenPlus Business Achieves Sustainable Historic Preservation

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The King's Daughters Inn


Modern energy monitoring software and water saving equipment


Building Design, Energy, Water


Modern retrofit for efficiency and cost savings in historic building

Kings Daughters Inn

The King’s Daughters Inn, a Green Plus certified business, is working to integrate sustainable technologies with historic preservation. Through extensive renovation and restoration, the Inn’s owners, Colin and Deanna Crossman, turned the former “residence for single, older women,” originally opened in 1911, into a high-end 17-suite bed and breakfast. During the renovation, the Crossmans integrated many green and energy-efficient technologies in an effort to minimize operating and utility costs, while preserving the building’s unique and historic charm.

         Key to The King’s Daughters Inn’s successful incorporation of green technology is a reliance on a centralized computer network that can monitor and control many of the building’s systems from one location. This network allows a single member of the B&B’s staff to run much of the hotel alone. More importantly, by connecting many of the building’s systems through a single network, the staff can continually monitor and adjust settings to help maximize efficiency and minimize energy waste. This helps keep utility bills low, while protecting and improving the guests’ experience.

         Smart energy sensors serve as an additional technology central to the Inn’s efforts to minimize unnecessary energy use. Each suite in the hotel is outfitted with two sensors that are able to deduce when the room is unoccupied. When a room is unoccupied, the sensors make sure that unnecessary utilities are turned off and automatically adjust the climate settings. The sensors are also linked to the central computer network, giving the staff the ability to monitor and control all aspects of each suite’s energy use.

         Like the in-room sensors, many of the B&B’s innovations work with or around the original building. For example, by adding additional airtight storm windows, the Crossmans were able both to preserve the building’s original windows and increase energy efficiency. The storm windows, which were installed outside of existing windows, and are hard to spot from inside, significantly reduce heating and cooling bills by minimizing heat transfer.

         Similarly, a large, 10,000-gallon cistern beneath the parking lot (paved with a special material that allows water to drain through) collects rainwater that can be used to water plants. The hidden cistern reduces the Inn’s reliance on city water, yet does not conflict with the building’s unique style.



Scott Brennen, native of no-where-in-particular, earned an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Grinnell College in 2008. After graduation, he joined the Peace Corps, which put him to work teaching 9th grade Chemistry at a rural high school in Mozambique. He is currently studying science...
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