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Find a Green Hotel
Whether it's a weekend getaway or a week-long stay, make sure your hotel has the same green habits as you do at home. Since hotels are such large consumers of resources--the hospitality industry spends $3.7 billion a year on energy and typical hotels use 218 gallons of water per day per occupied room--it is especially important to support environmentally conscious businesses whenever possible. Here's how to find them:
Sustainable Travel International offers a searchable eco directory of lodging and other tourism services that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainable tourism.
Green Globe is a worldwide benchmarking and certification program for the travel and tourism industry.
Rainforest Alliance's lodging choices are part of its Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas, which sets baseline standards that include environmental impact assessments, staff training, environmental monitoring, biodiversity conservation and benefits to local communities.
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) offers a worldwide lodging search tool to locate TIES members who follow the guidelines of responsible ecotourism.
Green Seal lists lodging properties in the U.S. that meet its Green Seal certification standards.
Green Hotels Association offers an international directory of its eco-minded hotel members.
One last tip: Don't be fooled by businesses who talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Here are a few questions to ask before you check in:
* How do you handle trash and recyclables?
* What is your policy on washing sheets and towels? Look for hotels that participate in towel and linen re-use program such as Project Planet.
* What are your water/energy conservation policies? Look for Energy Star certified appliances, affiliations and awards.
* Does your restaurant offer organic and local food?