The revolution is here, and it's
green. But get packing -- this movement is on vacation as travelers
increasingly demand green lodging options.
Words like "global warming" and "sustainable" -- once just
techno-jargon -- are now in the mainstream as the environmental movement
takes new shape and a sharper focus.
We're reducing carbon footprints. Decreasing chemicals. Increasing
organics. We're protecting the earth's natural resources and saving the
planet. And not just on home turf, but with suitcases and hiking shoes as
we travel the globe.
What is Green?
What does green really mean? In short, going "green" means to change
everyday habits as a way to preserve the earth for future generations.
In the lodging industry, green practices have been slow but increasing.
Several years ago, scores of hotels implemented on-demand towel and sheet
laundering as a way to reduce water and energy consumption. A
TripAdvisor.com survey recently reported that nearly 80 percent of
worldwide travelers willingly take part in such programs.
And it's a good thing as hotels are large consumers of resources.
Studies show that average hotels use over 200 gallons of water per day, per
room. And the hospitality industry spends $3.7 billion a year on energy.
Those numbers add up quickly, making recycle-the-sheets programs a
meager but noble start.
Travel in good conscious
Travelers don't want to leave their sustainable practices at home,
notes Glenn Hasek, editor of Green Lodging News, an online newsletter
dedicated to greening the hospitality industry. "People recycle at home,"
he says. "They use compact fluorescent bulbs, and they expect to see the
same on the road. In fact, they are disappointed if they don't."
Studies show that travelers are eager to go green, and are willing to
pay more to do so. The TripAdvisor survey reports that nearly 70 percent of
travelers believe environmentally-friendly measures in lodging are making a
difference. Over 30 percent said they would pay more to stay at an
GreenVacationHub offers green portal
Lisa Gray, founder of http://www.GreenVacationHub.com, agrees with the
survey results. GreenVacationHub.com is a global guide that links travelers
with accommodations that emphasize good health and green practices. At the
Hub, travelers can conduct detailed searches to find accommodations to fit
specific needs -- from luxury smoke-free hotels, to remote eco-tourist
Created earlier this year, the Hub is experiencing rapid growth with
more than 200 comprehensive, international listings of green
accommodations. Hotels span the globe and a variety of green practices --
from a straw-bale house in Montana, to intimate bed and breakfasts in New
Zealand, and eco-tourism destinations in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Lodging providers conduct a self-evaluation covering six environmental
areas: energy efficiency, water efficiency, recycling, air quality, food,
and fragrance-free. Accommodations are both remote and urban, spare and
luxurious, mom & pop and corporate. For example, Kimpton Hotels, a
collection of upscale boutique hotels, recently listed 40 of its EarthCare
sites on GreenVacationHub.
Gray is thrilled to see the breadth of Hub members.
"We encourage places that are transforming to more earth-friendly
actions," she explains. "We want to reward accommodations for making
efforts toward sustainable practices."
And as surveys indicate, rewards -- for travelers, hoteliers and the
planet -- come in all shades of green.
Recently in Oregon Category
The revolution is here, and it's
I found over our vacation that traveling green is hard! Something simple like recycling is difficult when you aren't near a recycling bin, so you have to tote garbage as well as four people's worth of stuff around the country.
I planned on making our vacation as green as possible. What happened was almost the exact opposite!
I read an article how Motel 6 is going a tad greener, so I went to book a room for when we stayed in Eureka. Accidentally I booked Super 8 (those hotels with numbers confused me I guess).
I found great places for Ashland and Portland though. We stayed in a granny unit of a local family in Ashland. They didn't have regular hotel amenities like cleaning service and I noticed Seventh Generation under the sink, so hopefully they are green themselves :) But nothing beat Portland... McMenamins! If you all are ever around Portland, you HAVE TO stay at Kennedy School! It's an old school that was closed in the 70s and McMenamins reopened it as a hotel with a movie theater (you can drink beer in), a restaurant that had the best food ever and a soaking pool. They have their own brewery and coffee roasting company. I could have stayed at the hotel for the full two days and been perfectly happy. Each room looked like an old classroom with chalkboards and all! I loved it's quirkiness. Plus they had recycling bins in each room and they didn't change bedding unless requested.