How does one go about finding an eco friendly hotel? How do you know if a hotels efforts to “go green” are actually paying off?
As I began researching standards for green hotels, I became increasingly interested in the newly created “green” accreditation programs and standards that exist. What I found, as you will see below, was absolutely atrocious. Many of these “green standards” merely involve a hotel executive filling out a survey and sending in their self-administered questionnaire with their membership fee. I don’t know about you, but to me this is unacceptable.
Thus, while these sites are helpful to a certain extent, none are foolproof. Use your best judgment when looking for an environmentally friendly hotel.
EnvironmentallyFriendlyHotels.com shows the most promise only because individual reviewers can submit their ratings. But unfortunately, not many folks have done that yet. Their rating system is a series of green trees where hotels that are the least green receive 1 tree and hotels that are the most green receive 7 trees. If people started reviewing these hotels this site could become beneficial.
Eco Hotels and Lodge Collection seems to have hotels and lodges that are more environmentally conscious, but there are fewer of them. One piece of information I found to be interesting on their site:
There are over 2500 Properties (including camp grounds) around the world claiming to be either “eco” or “green”. EHLC estimates that no more than 5% of these Properties fully deliver on all the required criteria, while another 15% are in the process of attaining truly Sustainable Tourism status. This top 20% segment is EHLC’s select target group from which we invite Properties into membership.
Green Hotels Association while it has a nice name, seems to be more of an advertising membership directory where you pay to be listed.
Sustainable Travel International offers an eco-directory. (look under lodgings) Generally, I have found STI’s information to be excellent.
Responsible Travel specializes in holidays and tours and has an accommodation only section of their site.
The EU has the EU Eco-label and through their search catalogue you can search for tourist accommodation.
Energy Star rates American buildings including hotels. According to their website these facilities “are among the top 25% in the county for energy performance” .
Eco-Index Sustainable Tourism focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean.
Green Globe is a consulting and advisory company that allows you to search for accommodation.
International Ecotourism Society members must sign a code of conduct stating that they meet certain requirements.
Audobon offers a “green leaf” rating system. However, it is based on self-evaluations and a membership program.