The first carbon positive hotel in the U.S. is currently under construction in Denver, Colorado. Designed by environmental steward Urban Villages, it is called Populus. It is expected to open in late 2023. 

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A white hotel building stands amidst a city landscape

The 265-room hotel will offer everything visitors to the mile high city expect, including a rooftop restaurant and bar with 360 degrees views. Additionally, the green roof features native plants to help with temperature control inside the building. It also helps to filter air in gathering spaces and is a visual representation of the building’s overall green design. 

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A triangular white hotel building with multiple windows

“We’ve created Populus to be a catalyst for change and to meet the increasing preference by today’s consumers to travel responsibly, experience places in an authentic way and connect more deeply with nature and each other,” said Jon Buerge, chief development officer and partner at Urban Villages. “An earth emergency demands that we strengthen our influence, and Populus is just the beginning.”

Seven men wearing suits with a white hardhat are bent over their shovels stuck into the dirt

Moreover, the carbon positive aspect of the venture comes through a collaborative effort between Urban Villages and Studio Gang, an architectural and urban design studio. Furthermore, a focus on low-impact material selections and system efficiency marks the sustainability groundwork within the aspen-tree inspired hotel. The overall plan focuses on reduction of embodied and operational carbon at every phase. 

The street view of Populus, a white building with multiple half circle cut-out windows

Specifically, the goal is achieved through the use of low-carbon concrete and high-recycled content materials. Structural efficiency was maximized across the 13-story structure, which requires less materials and minimizes construction waste. Also, window overhangs offer shading and energy efficiency. Varying sizes of windows throughout the building offer copious natural light and views of the Colorado landscape. Offsite, the company made an initial commitment to plant over 5,000 acres worth of trees to offset remaining operational carbon. 

A person lounging on a half circle window in a bedroom suite

“To truly impact our earth, carbon neutral developments are no longer enough. Populus will be entirely carbon positive starting with its construction and continuing through to its ongoing operations while acting as a vibrant social center for locals and visitors,” said Grant McCargo, Urban Villages’ cofounder, chief executive officer, chief environmental officer and partner. Populus is targeting LEED Gold Certification. 

+ Urban Villages

Images via Studio Gang and Ryan Dearth