Are you worried about the environmental impact of your next vacation? Planning a vacation can be stressful enough, but add the stress of worrying about the environment and it’s enough to prompt many would-be travelers to stay home. But put your worries to rest. Several tools are available on the internet to help travelers choose environmentally-friendly lodging or plan an eco-friendly trip.
Green Hotel Association, which was established in 1993, brings together like-minded hotel proprietors who are interested in environmental issues. Member hotels and their staff use the organization as a place for ideas and guidelines to make their establishments more environmentally-friendly. Through the organization, hotels find everything from ideas for how to conserve water to environmentally-friendly products to incorporate into the day-to-day running of their hotels.
Travelers use the organization’s website to find hotels that meet their environmental standards. The organization’s website lists green hotels in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming as well as in Bermuda, Canada, the Caribbean, Central America, South America (including Brazil), Europe and Asia.
Travelers who visit the site will find a wide variety of hotels ranging from mid-range establishments like Comfort Suites in Fultondale, Alabama to the pricier vacation resorts.
The Green Hotel Association says that being considered an environmentally-friendly establishment can impact a business’s bottom line.
“When energy-saving measures are introduced, such as energy management systems, fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for public rest rooms, meeting rooms, exercise rooms, etc., energy bills are much reduced. When water-saving equipment and techniques are introduced, such as low-flow showerheads, 1.5 gpm aerators, serving water on request only in restaurants, 1.6 gpm dishwashing valves, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, toilet tank fill diverters in older toilets and linen cards, water bills are reduced dramatically,” the organization says on its website.
Garbage and waste is another large expense for hotels. The Green Hotel Association says that when recycling programs are implemented and over-packaged products are avoided, a hotel can dramatically lower its expenses.
But in the end “being green means guests, staff and management are healthier,” the organization says on its website. For more information, visit www.greenhotels.com.
Another websites that can help consumers find eco-friendly hotels is www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com, which offers travelers a list of hotels worldwide that are committed to sustainable development. The website lists all types of properties, including bed and breakfasts, hotels, inns, lodges, motels and resorts. The site also offers information about what type of environmentally-friendly policies the establishment practices.
For those who want to take their vacation an eco-step further, carbonfund.org can help travelers determine the carbon emissions of their trip. Travel agencies can also help travelers arrange for travelers to rent a fuel efficient or hybrid car. Those who want to work toward improving the environment might consider volunteering with an environmental group or with a federal park for a vacation. The National Park Service website at www.nps.gov offers more information about volunteer opportunities in its parks.
1. Green Hotels Association website, accessed May 12, 2010, www.greenhotels.com
2. Environmentally Friendly Hotels website, accessed May 12, 2010, www.environmentallyfriendlyhotels.com
3. Carbonfund.org, website accessed on May 12, 2010
4. The National Park Service Website, accessed May 12, 2010, www.nps.gov.