As travelers, we’re naturally drawn to exploring the world’s beauties. We were the children in the backseat of our family van staring, captivated at the rolling plains on all of those summer road trips. We were the college students scrounging up every last dollar to see the sites of faraway lands. And we’re still the ones who snag the window seat on every flight in order to get that breathtaking birds-eye view of unfamiliar landscapes.
As travelers, we love the Earth, so we should do what we can to protect all it has to offer. Of course, the trains, planes, and automobiles required to take us to every corner of the world don’t do much for the preservation of Mother Nature; luckily, the growing trend of eco-friendly hotels is making it easier for you to go green while traveling.
With more than 300,000 hotels in world, we thought it was important to recognize those showing exceptional innovation and dedication to making this powerful global industry eco-friendly.
This is the first post of our Eco-Hotel series. We’ll start in the U.S. by recognizing a few of the top Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs Certified hotels. The LEED certification has become the leading grading system for sustainable development worldwide. With four levels of certification, Platinum being the highest, LEED thoroughly vets projects and holds them to the high standards.
In Napa Valley’s Yountville, Calif., Bardessono proves you can go green and without sacrificing luxury. As one of three hotels in the U.S. to be LEED Platinum Certified, this hotel sets the standards high for eco-lodging.
On its website the hotel humbly admits, “we are not perfect.” But we think they’re pretty darn close. What’s considered going the extra mile for some hotels is standard at Bardessono. The hotel was constructed from non-toxic and non- allergenic materials. Everything, from the sheets on your bed to the cleaning supplies to the food on your plate and the treatments at the spa, is organic. From construction to current day-to-day practices the Bardessono goes above and beyond. The hotel’s exterior features stones reused from the building that previously occupied the property. The siding, floors, doors, tables, and desks are made out of a variety of salvaged wood materials, including salvaged Montgomery Cypress and Redwood recycled from wine casks. Not to mention, an unbelievable 93 percent of the construction waste was recycled.
Strategic use of overhangs, window glass, venetian exterior blinds, and wells helps Bardessono work toward its goal of using half the electricity, gas, and oil of a typical hotel. And with the automated systems they’ve set in place, saving energy requires no effort on part of the guest.
On the roof, reflective materials help reduce heat absorption, and solar panels provide approximately half of the property’s energy. From yoga classes to the spa, Bardessono is the ultimate relaxation destination, and the only guilt you’ll have is how much wine you’ll drink at the long list of near by wineries. To learn more about the hotel’s green initiatives visit its website http://www.bardessono.com/LEED/.
Staying in wine country, H2hotel in Sonoma, Calif. joins the top of our list for green hotels. H2hotel wraps exploration, relaxation, and green living in one hip package. Earning the LEED Gold Certification, this hotel is calling all land lovers. H2hotel’s practices work to support nature as well as its community. The site, formerly home to a gas station, was cleared of contaminants and transformed into an eco-conscious haven. Much of the property has been left for more permanent guests—the plants. Most of H2Hotel’s rich vegetation are drought-tolerant, native species, and the strategic landscape helps maintain the city’s storm drain system.
With electricity-saving sensors, dual-flush toilets, and reusable recycling bins in the rooms, H2hotel makes it easy for you to be eco-conscious during your stay. H2hotel also strives to support the people in its community, so it’s sourced the art and Heath Ceramic bathroom tile locally, purchased free-trade rugs from Peace Industry, and ensured the air is fresh to keep guests happy and healthy.
With a patio or balcony for every room and bikes to borrow, there’s endless nature to be seen and explored at H2hotel. For more info on the hotel’s eco-accommodations, visit its website: http://www.h2hotel.com/green/
Being the first hotel in the U.S. to become LEED Platinum Certified, Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, N.C., definitely deserves a spot on this list.
Proximity has paved the way for energy and water reduction in the lodging industry. Using 100 solar panels, the hotel heats enough hot water for a hundred homes, and they were the first to use the Otis Gen2 elevator, which is another major energy-saver. They were able to recycle the majority of their construction waste and divert over 1,500 tons of debris from going to the landfill. And through the installation of high-efficiency water fixtures, they were able to save two million gallons of water in the first year alone.
But Proximity also thinks about the little things that make a big difference, like salvaging walnut trees at the end of their production life to make the bistro bar and using bamboo plywood for the room service trays. The hotel also utilizes local vendors and in-house artists to cut down on transportation and packaging inefficiencies.
Proximity Hotel is as green as you can get and provides the ultimate sustainable getaway. To learn more about the hotel’s long list of eco-friendly practices, visit its website: http://www.proximityhotel.com/green.htm