New hotels seem to pop in downtown Athens, GA almost as frequently as new bars. Most are your typical chains, but Hotel Indigo plans to shake that up when it opens its doors in late August.

Hotel Indigo will be the first green hotel in Athens. To be certified as a green hotel, the hotel must be certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, and must meet the system's criteria for environmentally sustainable construction.

During our hard hat tour on Thursday, the Athens CVB had the chance to view many of the features that will help make Hotel Indigo so unique. Three of the factors that stood out to me include:

  1. Priority parking for hybrid cars- Move over luxury gas-guzzling vehicles. Long given the front-row treatment at hotels, hybrids are taking your spot at Hotel Indigo. As a green hotel, Hotel Indigo plans to give priority parking in the front of the hotel to those hybrid vehicle owners leading the way to a greener earth.
  2. Local, local, local- One of the requirements in LEED certification is that a large portion of supplies and materials for the building must come from within a 300-mile radius. A perfect example of this within Hotel Indigo comes from the model hotel room on-site. The rooms will feature hardwood flooring from Shaw Industries, based out of my home turf Dalton, GA (just a 2.5 hour, very boring drive away from Athens!). All of the wood for the furniture came from a location in South Carolina, & the framing for photos is made by local Athens carpenters who use refurbished wood. The photos themselves are music posters from local bands. Hotel Indigo plans to include one well-known band (in the model room it was Pylon) as well as one lesser known, "rising star". Finally, while Starbucks coffee will be offered in the main areas of the hotel, each room will feature coffee from local favorite Jittery Joe's.
  3. Natural Light- The hotel is designed with the sun in mind! The rooms face North & South, and as the sun rises & sets East to West, you never have to deal with the usual glaring blindness. With large, beautiful windows in each room, hotel patrons will be encouraged to allow the natural light from the sun illuminate their rooms during the day.

Do you think Hotel Indigo will be a successful addition to Athens?