Hikers have long flocked to Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Back in 1852, the original Glen House hotel opened to serve visitors who wanted to ascend the Northeast’s highest peak without roughing it. Today, the fifth and newest iteration of Glen House blends history, mountainous beauty and 21st century sustainability initiatives.
“Each new hotel took advantage of whatever the latest in building theory and technology had to offer,” said Howie Wemyss, general manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road/Great Glen Outdoor Center, which owns the hotel. “In 1885 when the second Glen House was constructed, it had electric as well as gas lights, a telegraph and an elevator. The fourth Glen House, built in 1924, was winterized with insulation and central heat to take advantage of the growing winter sports of skiing, tobogganing and snowshoeing.”
Nowadays, the 68-room Glen House has progressed from the telegraph to new, cutting-edge technology and the aim to be as energy self-sufficient and carbon-neutral as possible. A geothermal system composed of 30 wells drilled 500-feet deep heats the Glen House in winter and cools it in the summer without the burning of fossil fuels. A hydro-generator provides for most of the electric needs of the Great Glen Lodge activities center, located across the street. The same water system also irrigates the hotel’s flowers, shrubs, trees and grass and is used for snowmaking and fire safety.
Other sustainability features include high-efficiency insulation, LED lighting throughout, Otis Gen2 models that regenerate energy as elevator cars descend and water fountains designed to fill reusable water bottles. The hotel’s outdoor lighting is dark-sky compliant, meaning fixtures point at the ground rather than up toward the sky. Glen House even provides wax paper bags in the bathroom to encourage guests to take home partially-used bars of soap. Visitors who want to climb the 6,288-foot Mt. Washington and then sleep in a bed instead of a tent can feel good about supporting Glen House.
Images via Glen House