DEC Launches New Initiative Certifying “Green” Lodging Establishments
On September 22, 2009, DEC announced the launch of a new initiative to certify lodging establishments as “green” for employing environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. Forty-three hotels and inns have signed on for the certification process.
The Green Lodging Certification program combines environmentally sound business practices with financially feasible solutions. Under the program, hoteliers focus on saving energy, trimming waste disposal, using water efficiently and conserving resources, while improving their bottom line. Candidates will be evaluated in energy efficiency, environmental management, pollution prevention and resource conservation. Green credentials will be certified by the Audubon GreenLeaf program. Based on environmental performance, a hotel could be assigned one to five green leaves.
The certification program is part of a larger initiative to support and market sustainable tourism throughout New York, highlighting the state’s diverse natural resources as tourism destinations, connecting travelers to green businesses and assisting New York’s tourism businesses to go green.
The New York State Green Hospitality and Tourism Partnership, a combination of state agencies, business associations, and academia, worked together to initiate the certification program. Earlier this year, the partnership helped launch the “Green Restaurant Certification” process. The Partnership offers technical assistance to targeted industries and works to establish green benchmarking in the various areas including hospitality, restaurants, outfitters and transportation. The Partnership also recognizes other comparable third-party certification organizations for hotels and restaurants, including Green Seal, a not-for-profit certifier. The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, which provides direct assistance to state businesses and organizations to green their operations and enhance their bottom line, will conduct the program in conjunction with the Partnership, providing technical assistance and site visits.