Mother Earth Living

Is Your Lodging Green? Eco-Friendly Hotels

Evaluate your hotel's commitment to 'green'
By Chelsea Brown
January/February 2005
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The hotel industry is notorious for its high resource consumption. Today, many hotels and resorts are taking steps to lessen their environmental impact, while others are simply looking to reduce costs in the name of being “green.” Here’s how to tell the difference.

Conventional Hotel: Makes little or no effort to be sustainable short of government requirements.

Practices include:

• overuse of building materials
• wasteful food consumption and disposal
• packaging waste
• noise pollution
• overcrowding
• compromised staff and local population health
• high energy and water consumption
• high CO2 and CFC emissions
• pollution from transportation and waste
• souvenir sales of products from endangered species

Light-Green Hotel: Incorporates some sustainable practices into everyday operations, though these may be motivated by financial considerations rather than environmental concern.

Practices include:

• encouraging guests to reuse linen
• bulk dispensers for toiletry products
• recycling programs
• high-efficiency lighting and climate-control systems
• water conservation
• donation programs for furniture, amenities, food

Green Hotel: Incorporates green practices on many different levels and implementation of large-scale education, environmental and social programs.

Practices include:

• use of urban or agricultural sites as opposed to sensitive ecosystems
• sustainable landscaping and architecture
• use of native materials and construction methods
• all-encompassing energy-management programs
• composting and recycling programs
• advanced water-treatment programs
• employee training to reduce energy use and waste
• guest education programs that address local culture and ecosystems

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