Ely’s Adventure Inn a lean, green, hospitality machine


Susan and Mike Edgington, owners of the Adventure Inn in Ely, now provide guests with energy efficient living, including solar-heated water and floors, and provide benefits to the surrounding environment in the form of increased green space to absorb runoff. The Edgingtons also “freecycled” old equipment including toilets, sinks, windows, doors, and furniture.

Adventure Inn in Ely, MN

Benefits were plentiful for all involved when Susan and Mike Edgington, owners of the Adventure Inn in Ely, Minnesota, decided to make their business more energy efficient. A visit from CERTs director, Lissa Pawlisch, and Jill Curran from Energy Smart: “Planted the seed to find a green architect and to move forward with an energy saving design. So in a way, [they were] inspiration to go the extra mile,” according to Susan.

Now visitors can enjoy ample hot water, heated by solar panels on the south-facing roof of the newly constructed, energy efficient building. The solar water heaters alone will reduce Adventure Inn’s yearly carbon footprint by 51,000 pounds according to Conservation Technologies, the Duluth-based company that installed the system.

Susan and Mike have implemented several other energy-saving techniques to accompany this major project, however, including collecting rainwater, installing a hook-up for electric vehicles, constructing a more energy efficient building, and creating more green space to help absorb runoff.

The Edgingtons also made sure that most parts of the old building were reused in one way or another, according to Susan: “We advertized [to people] to come and take window, doors, usable toilets and furniture, sinks too. The Ely fire department will also use the building for a practice search and rescue by filling the rooms with smoke. When the building is gone, we will be paving over and making better parking for our guests.”

Newly opened in June 2011, the Adventure Inn is already receiving praise from visitors. Susan noted that she was surprised by how many Ely residents have said they feel uplifted by what the Edgintons have accomplished. “Perhaps because we are looking forward and into the future,” Susan mused, “many others will feel a bit more secure about the future as a whole.”

Click here to read a full CERTs case study on the project >>