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Going Green:
Hoping to Earn LEED Gold Certification: How One Hotelier, Charter House
Innovations, Renovated the CityFlats Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.—Charter House Innovations (CHi) has opened its second green CityFlats Hotel—this time in the heart of Grand Rapids, Mich. The Holland, Mich.-based company, which also manufactures sustainable furniture, is pursuing LEED for New Construction certification at the Gold level for the 28-room property. CHi also has a CityFlats Hotel in Holland, Mich., that opened almost four years ago and, according to Chuck Reid, owner of the CityFlats Hotel brand, investors have expressed interest in developing additional CityFlats properties in Michigan and on the East Coast.

CityFlats Hotel Grand Rapids, which includes the CitySēn Lounge on the main floor, is in a building originally constructed in 1874. The previous tenant in the five-story structure was Fox’s Jewelers which vacated the building in 1997. Much of the exterior of the original building was kept intact during the restoration. The terra cotta façade for stories two through five was restored. A sign from Fox’s has been restored and placed in an LED lit shadowbox behind the bar in CitySēn Lounge. Exposed brick from the original building is still visible in some of the guestrooms in the hotel that are all individually unique.

Numerous features make CityFlats Hotel Grand Rapids environmentally friendly. More than 30 percent of the materials used to construct the hotel were acquired from local sources and a majority of all seating and décor items were manufactured in Holland, Mich.—just 30 miles away. Instead of carpeting, cork flooring tiles were used in guestrooms. When a tile is damaged, it can easily be replaced. Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) adhesives were used below the flooring.

Positive Response to Flooring

“We love the cork flooring,” says Sarah Lily, marketing coordinator for the CityFlats Hotels in Grand Rapids and Holland. “[Cork] is a rapidly renewable product and provides us with a healthier breathing environment. Our guests like it.”

Locally made CityDrēm mattresses are featured in guestrooms. Bed bases are made from bamboo—there are no box springs. Sheets, blankets, towels and duvet covers include naturally hypo-allergenic bamboo fibers. Items such as countertops are made from Cradle to Cradle certified recycled glass and concrete. Low-VOC paint was used throughout the hotel.

The mattresses, sheets and towels have been so popular with guests that guests can now buy them for their homes. Information about the items for sale is included in guestrooms and at the front desk.

To save energy, curtains are lined with a black-out fabric. The bamboo sheets can be washed in cold water. Large windows and architectural light wells maximize natural lighting. Master switches turn off all lighting when a guest leaves the guestroom. Occupancy sensors power down the heating and cooling system when it is not needed.

“We were able to outfit most of the hotel with LED lighting,” Reid says.

While the hotel had its official opening on September 13, it has been open since early summer.

Steady Flow of Business

“Business has been good, especially on the weekends,” Lily says. “The restaurant has been very well received.

She adds that one of CityFlats Hotel’s largest customers is based in Holland, Mich. That company’s own headquarters has been certified LEED Gold.

“They wanted to put their guests up at a green hotel,” Lily says. “We have some leisure guests who choose us because we have green hotels.”

Reid says he expects to receive official notice about LEED certification in about nine months.

GMB Architects of Holland, Mich., was the architect for CityFlats Hotel Grand Rapids, and GDK Construction of Holland, Mich., was the construction company.

This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to Glenn Hasek can be reached at


Glenn Hasek, Publisher & Editor

Green Lodging News

(440) 243-2055; Mobile: (216) 702-0334


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