The Salem Inn might immerse visitors in old world charm, but it’s opted to modernize in a very special way – by going green. This was a decision made by the owners, Dick and Diane Pabich, as they felt being good stewards to the environment was their duty as property owners. This decision is also in keeping with Salem’s 2021 Climate Action Plan, which hopes to make the city carbon neutral by 2050.
The couple has spent decades refurbishing and revitalizing their three properties; the West House, the Curwen House, and the Peabody House. Updating the Salem Inn to use clean energy and reduce the amount of carbon emissions is just the next logical step.
Going green is a great way to keep a historic building warm. This is why all four furnaces in the West House, the Curwen House, and the Peabody House have been removed and replaced with high-efficiency heat pumps. This benefits the guests as much as the environment, as it gives guests far more control over the temperature of their rooms compared to the antiquated gas and oil heating systems that had been in use.
By replacing the old gas and oil-powered heating system, they drastically reduce not only pollution but the Inn’s dependency on fossil fuels. They may also lower the Salem Inn’s heating bill in a time when Massachusetts’ heating costs have been rising. By being energy-efficient, they can keep costs down and their guests cozy at the same time.
Solar power is one of the cleanest and most abundant sources of energy available. In fact, the amount of sunlight that hits the U.S. in a single day is more than 2,500 times the entire U.S.’s daily energy usage. By using solar panels, the Inn now converts this energy into electricity for the West House and the Peabody House. This electricity powers the newly-installed heat pumps as well as the houses’ other electrical needs. Surplus electricity will be sold back to the grid, which helps recoup the initial cost of the solar panel installation.
The Pabichs aren’t able to add solar panels to the Curwen House due to it being located in a historic district where zoning laws won’t allow them. However, they found a workaround; they installed solar panels at their own house, which sends the collected solar energy to the Curwen House. This way the building can still be green without infringing on the historic district’s regulations.
Going Green is Good for Business
Green tourism has also become more and more popular, so this benefits the Inn’s business as well as the environment. An increasing number of travelers are looking for getaways that don’t leave a large carbon footprint. In fact, according to a 2022 survey, over 80% of global travelers said that sustainable tourism is important to them. So by installing solar panels and heat pumps, they add extra incentive for Salem visitors to book a stay at the Inn. This, on top of the historic furnishings and convenient location near Salem, Massachusetts’ bustling downtown, is sure to appeal to travelers who wish to be eco-conscious.