There are many ways to go about greening your hotel stay. Finding an eco-friendly hotel is the first way to make a big impact. Large hotels, especially in urban areas, consume a lot of energy. Between their many guest rooms and common spaces, conference centers and restaurants, they have the potential to leave a heavy carbon footprint. Many eco-travelers assume they’re restricted to eco-lodges and low-impact hostels to travel green, but this is not true. Thanks to LEED certification, it is possible to find an eco-friendly hotel or resort, or a green hotel.
What is a LEED-Certified hotel?
An acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED sets a universal eco-standard for hotels, making it easier for travelers to see — even at a glance — whether the hotel they want to book is green.
How does it work?
Resorts striving for LEED hotel certification must assemble a project team dedicated to reducing the property’s carbon footprint. This team makes changes in many hospitality industry categories, including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy, and indoor environmental quality. They are then judged on a 100 point system. Hotels must meet a point minimum of 40 to be considered a LEED property.
- 50-59 points designates a hotel as ‘Silver LEED’
- 60-79 points designates ‘Gold LEED’
- 80 points or higher equals a ‘Platinum LEED’ certification
How do I find a LEED hotel?
There are several easy ways for travelers to find LEED certified green hotels.
1. Use booking sites. If you’re using a booking site such as Travelocity, you can browse its Green Hotel Directory. Additional databases include: istaygreen.org; ecogreenhotel.com and Green Hotels Association.
Many more databases for green hotels exist. In fact, we first made a list way back in 2008! Many of these eco-hotel databases are still relevant today.
2. You can seek green hotels on trusted travel sites. Start right here! When we stay at a green hotel worth shouting about, we make it a green hotel pick. You can also browse our favorite eco-lodges for winter, and best eco-lodges for all seasons.
4. You can look for ‘Green Hotels’ categories on most major hotel chain websites. Hyatt has a large selection of LEED certified hotels, my top pick being the very first in Seattle: Hyatt Olive 8. Marriott also has a long list of LEED hotels worldwide, as does Omni Hotels.
Are all eco-friendly hotels and green hotels LEED hotels?
No. But seeking out LEED certified hotels is a great place to start, because a trusted environmental agency has already done the work for you. When you’re not able to stay at an eco-friendly or LEED hotel, there are still eco-measures you can take for to make your hotel stay more green. Reuse your towels. Bring your own soap. Unplug what you are not using. Leave the freebies — soap, shampoo, pens, etc. — there. By being mindful of your impact, small changes can make a big difference in your hotel stay.
Do you seek out green hotels? What has been your experience?