The Inn at The Black Olive
This blog will be used to share pictures, videos, and information about the project of building the Inn at the Black Olive.

Right now we are busy building an Inn. When it is complete it we are pretty sure It will be the best building in Baltimore. We are pretty proud of our building and the tradition of the Black Olive it is built on.

The Inn at The Black Olive will have 12 exclusive guest rooms, a rooftop Wine Bar, a gourmet market providing all of the things we love, and banquet and on site catering facilities.

Put all of that in to a building so energy efficient and environmentally sound that we are seeking the highest possible certification from the LEED Program.

For now we have a blog. But when the website goes live you can say you heard it here first.

This project is the most cutting edge and daring project to come out of Bmore since the shot tower, for numerous reasons

We will provide many links, stories, innovations, and arguments to support that statement.
For now we will just say that it has taken the will of Hercules and the ingenuity of your highest level Do It Yourselfers" to actually pull off the building of such a GREEN spot on what used to be such a nasty Brownfield in the city of Baltimore

or you can access things this way.

Or This Way

Archive .

This is what it looks like if you see a sunset at the Olive Room.

The Inn at the Black Olive-High Performance Features-#4 Interior and Exterior Finish: Natural Limestone Plaster

a.    Manufacturer : Eco Stucco

b.    Main Features: Natural, non toxic, vapor permeable, antibacterial, and absorbs CO2

c.    LEED Credits:

1.    Indoor Environmental Quality EQ 4.1 Low-Emitting Materials, Sealers.

2.    Indoor Environmental Quality EQ 4.2 Low Emitting Materials, Paints and Coatings.

3.    Construction Waste Management- MR 2.1 Divert 50% from Disposal

4.    Construction Waste Management- MR 2.2 Divert 75% from Disposal

5.    Regional Materials – MR 5.1: 10% Extracted, Processed & Manufactured Regionally

6.    Regional Materials – MR 5.2  20% Extracted, Processed & Manufactured Regionally

7.    Innovation and Design Process: ID 1.1 Lightweight Alternative to ceramic tiles, Quarried Stone, and Bricks.

8.    Innovation and Design Process: ID 1.1 Low Maintenance and Long Life Cycle.

d.    Sustainability information:

Check out the other Black olive blogs

Our Wine blog  ‘

From Our Kitchen

A sustainable development project in mexico

Wine at The Olive Room

Earlier in the week we mentioned that we would  provide details of the soon to be opened Olive Room at the The Inn at the Black Olive. We have talked a lot about it as a wine location, so let us start there.

Wine List

The Olive room will feature a short and focused wine list on any given night, but will draw from a large variety of choices. The focus will be on new regions, new grape varietals, eco-friendly and Greek wines.

Wine Events

The Olive Room will host a series of events showcasing the wines, grape varietals, and winemakers that help make The Black Olive one of the Fifty Best Wine Experiences in America.

  • Tastings
  • Trade Events
  • Educational Programs
  • Purchasing Events

Extensive Availability for Special Events.

For your meeting, banquet and special gathering needs the Olive Room can provide a beautiful setting, capacity for 80, and  one of the most extensive wine selections in Baltimore.

More details to come.

Why we prefer “high performance building”(but still use green)

I’ll admit, we have billed ourselves as a green building more than once. Yes, I know “green” includes everything from oil companies to basketball games. I also know that when applied to buildings and hotels this term often lacks definition and is not judged on any standard. In fact as a recent commenter on the  Baltimore Sun article about our Inn suggest, the invocation of green is often an attempt to get another type of green($$$) by appealing to the guilt of the consumer without any tangible benefit for the planet.

But still we use the term. In part I blame Twitter. Not only is #greenbuilding a more popular hashtag, but green is just shorter than high performance.

All joking aside this points to an important aspect of this discussion. As much as people are suspicious of the term “green” there is still an expectation of what it should mean. Even if not defined by strict standards and guidelines, the public consciousness of a green building includes concepts like

  • Energy efficiency/renewable energy
  • Effective water and soil management
  • Use of environmentally friendly materials and products
  • Sensible paper usage

Because of this public sense about what “green” should mean the term has the potential power to motivate consumers and citizens to include the environment in every decision they make. What the term needs to claim that power is a tangible definition of what it means.

The United States Green Building Council has created the LEED system of building rating. This system is an industry leader, and utilizes the most up to date and  rigorously tested international engineering and construction standards in order to certify on a publicly available scale that the claims made about a green building can be scientifically verified.

The Inn at The Black Olive is applying for LEED Platinum Certification for New Construction. This is the highest rating possible, and we have constructed the building to these standards. So when we say “green building” we have a scale to judge that against. As such this building can serve as a demonstration of environmentally sustainable construction to the public, to consumers, and to developers.

This, though, is a post about “high performance building”. We prefer the term high performance because the environmentally friendly construction program will leave us with a building that consumes less energy, less water and less paper. It will emit less toxins and pollutants, it will require less maintenance, and it will have a lifespan that is nearly 300% of that of a traditional building.

By using products like aerated concrete, machine room less elevators, energy efficient roofing, and geothermal heating and cooling, we have constructed a building that will last and be usable for decades to come.

So yes. We say green. It is a powerful term and we want to aspire to  be what the public wants it to be. We also want to serve as an example of how that term can be defined. Using “high performance” to provide demonstration and definition to “green”  can help the term to reach its potential power.

Cost savings still often speak louder than carbon savings, but if carbon savings paid for in the initial stages pay off as 100 years of cost savings, then high performance green building will make sense from a business as well as a environmental perspective.

We know the Inn a The Black Olive will be both, and we can’t wait for it to open.

Revisiting geothermal HVAC

Last week when we unveiled some of the components of the Inn at the Black Olive we discussed geothermal heating and cooling. After that announcement and the Baltimore Sun Article that discussed the building there was some question on the comments section of the web site that seemed to wonder how this geothermal stuff works.

One of the commenters did a great job explaining how it works

"The system that they are installing does not use groundwater; it is a closed-loop system that uses a non toxic alcohol based anti- freeze solution circulating in an array of plastic pipe coils 30 or 40 feet below street level. The solution is pumped through a heat exchanger that is connected to a heat pump system that provides heat in the winter and cooling in the summer. See this website:

We will provide more information about this amazing technology, but for now we thought we would show you some pictures so you can envision how it will work.

What is the Olive Room?

The Black Olive has some of the best wine in Maryland and one of the best wine experiences in America.  The Olive Room at the Inn at the Black Olive will take the experience to new heights!

Sitting on the roof of a beautiful high performance building, The Olive Room will offer one of the best views of Baltimore to be had. The wine list will  feature the most ecologically friendly wines from around the world.

Add to that  a menu featuring small plate iterations of Black Olive classics combined with new dishes for a new space, and you have the makings of a great new spot on the east side of the Harbor.

It is probably apparent that we are pretty excited about The Olive Room. We think you will be as well.

This week we will post a lot of information about the Inn but we are going to go into a lot of depth about the Olive Room. Stay tuned for details including:

  • Wine spotlights-What will be on the wine list.
  • Pictures of the view.
  • Food features- What will be on the Menu at the Olive Room.
  • Special wine events- A preview of the Olive Room’s plans for wine events.

While we are talking about wine check out the Black Olive Wine Blog.

Construction Progress on The Inn

This slideshow details the construction of  The Inn at The Black Olive through the summer and fall. We will keep updating the photo set at Flickr.

The Inn at the Black Olive-High Performance Features-#3 Machine room Less Elevator with Regenerative drive

Machine room Less Elevator with Regenerative drive

  1. Manufacturer : Kone
  2. Main Features: Energy efficient, No need for machine room on roof, no hydraulic fluid, and 50-70% Energy Savings over a hydraulic Elevator.
  3. 3. LEED Credits:

1. Energy and Atmosphere Credit 1 Optimize energy efficiency

2. Innovation and Design Process: 1.1 Low impact Vertical Transportation

4. Sustainability information:

The Inn at the Black Olive-High Performance Features-#2 Geothermal Heating and Cooling System

  1. Manufacturers : Econar and Trane
  2. Main Features: Energy efficiency, renewable energy, reduces heat island effect, increases thermal comfort, reduces carbon impact, quiet operation, no need for rooftop chillers.
  3. LEED Credits:
  1. Energy and Atmosphere  Credit 1.1 to 1.10 (10 points) Optimize energy efficiency – 70% Energy Savings over Standard HVAC system. Econar has highest COPT and BTU output.
  2. Indoor Environmental Quality EQ 6.2 Controllability of Systems, Thermal Comfort.
  3. Indoor Environmental Quality EQ 7.1 Thermal Comfort.
  4. Indoor Environmental Quality EQ 2 Increased Ventilation
  5. Innovation and Design Process: 1.1 Use of desuperheater to create domestic hot water with heat created by cooling reducing the cooling load
  6. Innovation and Design Process: 1.1 Use of Hot gas reheat to dehumidify with heat created by cooling reducing the cooling load.
  7. Innovation and Design Process: 1.1 Reduction of the Peak cooling demand by creating Domestic hot water with water to water geothermal units when well field temperature rises above desired point.

High Performance/ Sustainability information:

Geothermal Heating Information

  • In the heating mode, the water circulating in the earth loop is colder than the surrounding ground. This causes the water to absorb energy, in the form of heat, from the earth. The water carries this energy to the heat exchanger in the pump. In the heat exchanger, refrigerant absorbs the heat energy from the water. The water now leaves the heat exchanger at a colder temperature, and circulates through the earth loop to pick up more energy.
  • The refrigerant gas, which contains energy gained from the earth loop, travels from the heat exchanger to the compressor. In the compressor, the refrigerant temperature rises to 160°. From the compressor, the superheated refrigerant travels to the air heat exchanger. Here, the heat pump’s blower circulates air across the air coil, increasing the temperature of the air, which is blown through ductwork to heat the home. After refrigerant releases its heat energy to the air, it then flows to the earth loop heat exchanger to start the cycle again.

Geothermal Cooling

      • In the cooling mode, the water circulating in the earth loop is warmer than the surrounding ground. This causes the water to release energy, in the form of heat, into the earth. The water, now cooler from traveling through the ground now flows to the heat exchanger in the heat pump. In the heat exchanger, hot refrigerant gas from the compressor releases its heat into the water. This causes the water to increase temperature, which it releases to the ground.
        • The refrigerant, which has released its heat energy and became a cold liquid, now travels to the heat exchanger. Here the heat pump’s blower circulates warm, humid air across the cold air coil. The air is then blown through ductwork to cool the home. The refrigerant in the air coil picks up the heat energy from the air, and travels to the compressor. When the refrigerant leaves the compressor, it then flows to the earth loop heat exchanger to start the cycle again