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Finding a green hotel

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By Wayne Lazarus on October 1st, 2011

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

Many of us know a lot more about living an environmentally sound life now than we used to, and most of us take steps to help as much as possible. Conserving water, electricity and natural gas have an economic payback. Most municipalities make recycling fairly painless these days. In my area, I have to deliver aluminum, glass and plastic to the collection site, but I do it because it makes me feel that I’m having an impact, as small as it may be. So when I travel, I have a little trouble just tossing an aluminum can in the trash.

One of my expectations for a motel, in addition to a good price and convenient location, is that there is a recycling bin. I usually have to ask where it is, and once in a while, am disappointed by a total absence of recycling. Many hotels are offering patrons the option of not laundering sheets and towels daily — one I stayed at gave customers a $5 gift certificate to the coffee shop on the premises for each day the customer went without maid service. (I’ll definitely be back!)

While many hotels and motels are taking steps towards saving utilities and environmentally sustainable management – often they forget to tell you about their efforts. Sometimes its a change in the kind of chemicals used in their pesticides, or using motion detectors to save on lights (or changing the kind of light bulbs used) or even no-VOC paints and furnishings. Sometimes its using native plants in the landscaping and golf course. A LEED certification is always a good recommendation – but sometimes you won’t find that out without doing a little research. (There may be a plaque announcing it on a wall somewhere.)

Now you can rest assured that you’re finding the best price as well as an environmentally conscious hotel. Motel.com offers a special section on its website listing green hotels, many of which have Greenkey Eco-Rating certifications. You can feel comfortable about doing all that you can for the environment while still getting a great deal on a quality motel room.

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