Pickett Craddock of Oak Grove Plantation in South Boston received a green award at the Virginia Green Conference & Awards Celebration in December, along with 13 other tourist attractions in the state.
“Oak Grove Plantation B&B’s solar installation clearly demonstrates the environmental commitment of owners Michael Doan and Pickett Craddock, and it helps to educate consumers about the viability of such technologies,” said Tom Griffin, Virginia Green Coordinator. “We are proud to promote Oak Grove Plantation B&B as a Virginia Green Travel Star.”
North Carolina-based Southern Energy Management designed and installed the system, a 3.9-kilowatt solar array featuring 16 Bosch 245-watt modules mounted in the field behind Oak Grove’s main building.
Virginia Green is the state’s voluntary program to encourage green practices in the state’s tourism industry. The program is run through a partnership between the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association.
The historic inn aims to attract environmentally conscious guests and save money too with the first solar photovoltaic system to generate clean electricity at a Virginia bed & breakfast. Oak Grove has also installed an energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system. The project will allow the bed and breakfast to extend its season beyond the traditional months of May through September.
The panels were financed under a unique set of circumstances that also allow Oak Grove to protect the 400 acres of forest surrounding the inn. Its owners are using a Virginia Land Conservation Incentives Act program to preserve the land in perpetuity, a move that made them eligible for tax breaks to make up for the lost property value. Oak Grove then sold the tax breaks and used the proceeds to pay for the solar array.
Besides using solar power, the inn recycles, has a compost pile for vegetable scraps and has installed “low-e” energy-efficient storm windows on the south side. Motorists who arrive in hybrids get a third night free. Also, the inn uses rain barrels to collect water, the inn has a tankless electric hot water heater, and it uses compact fluorescent lighting.