BOONE — Visitors to Boone have a new opportunity to pair a quality bed-and-breakfast experience with an off-the-grid adventure at the Lovill House Inn.

After months of restoration that started in April, the Lovill House Inn has been restored to its former glory while also subtly incorporating a variety of upgrades to make the property self-sufficient and fueled on renewable energy to make it as sustainable as possible.

Joel Olsen, owner of the Lovill House Inn, said that it is combining luxury, history and sustainability throughout the property. Preserving the history and character of the inn, including woodwork that features rare, wormy chestnut from the early 1900s, the property features photos of the inn’s original owners as well as evidence of its legacy as the building where the charter for Appalachian State University was signed.

“We want to expose visitors to sustainability in a luxury setting,” Olsen said.

Environmentally-friendly practices are in the small details of each room, such as the reduction of single-use plastic through reusable, washable glass water bottles on bedside tables as well as refillable soap dispensers in showers. Eliminating over 23,000 tiny plastic bottles a year, a Raleigh-based company called Fillaree provides high quality shampoos, conditioner and soap in bulk for the inn.

In the kitchen, no plastic plates or silverware are used and food is, as much as possible, locally sourced. According to Olsen, even the trash bags are made out of a compostable material to reduce plastic waste throughout the house.

Behind the walls of the inn, Olsen said that renovations made the building as efficient as possible by upgrading insulation, windows, pipes and more to make sure the building is well-sealed and no leaks are present to save energy.

Old hot water heaters were replaced with energy star on demand water heaters, which Olsen said not only save space and are more energy efficient, but provide a faster supply of hot water to all the inn’s rooms.

Additionally, old electric furnaces and electric baseboard heating systems were replaced by new HVAC systems and mini-splits.

On a larger scale, Olsen has brought his personal experience with solar power to the Lovill House Inn. As CEO of O2 Group Ventures, a company which helps make properties more energy efficient, Olsen has a passion for transitioning properties to renewable energy and to smartly reducing energy usage.

Lovill House Inn has a newly installed 25 kilowatt solar panel carport, which provides cover for guests’ cars while producing the energy needed to operate the inn. On another building is an extra, smaller 5 kilowatt solar panel. Energy is saved in a collection of Tesla batteries that store power for rainy days.

All of the art, as well as almost all of the renovation work, was supplied by locals. Olsen said the art is a place to show and sell works by local artists, and contracting with local businesses to complete renovations has been a great way to include the local community in the Lovill House Inn’s renovations and provide guests with a top-tier local experience.

In the future, Olsen said he hopes the Lovill House Inn can be an event venue for weddings and bigger meetings than those they can host now. In a potential new building, Olsen said he would be excited to integrate sustainable construction methods utilizing the latest technology, something not possible when only renovating an older building. He hopes to work with App State students and departments working with sustainable building technology to help bring the community into the project.

Marisa Mecke is a Report for America corps member for Mountain Times Publications. Report for America is a national nonprofit service program which places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

https://www.wataugademocrat.com/news/local/lovill-house-inn-renovation-brings-sustainability-to-boone-tourism/article_c1a78adc-ef1a-5954-8322-09228e4483e3.html