In this age of global warming and trends towards going green, the travel industry is staying with the times by making some moves towards green as well. Green hotels and green rental cars are both making their way into the main stream. Read on so that the next time you find yourself venturing away from home you can sleep green and drive green, reducing your traveler’s carbon footprint.
The Advantages of a Green Hotel: Green hotels are popping up across the United States and around the world. Dedicated to a sustainable business model, these hotels go green by bringing in new customers who enjoy the option of green accommodations and by saving money through various sustainable practices. For example, green hotels use simple strategies such as “towel use” signs, asking multiple night stay customers to reuse their towels and bedding for multiple nights, which reduces water consumption, water pollution, and electricity use.
Green hotels can have varying levels of commitment and usually you can read about their initiatives on their websites. Some hotels will use water saving fixtures such as low flow toilets, low flow shower heads, and automatic sinks. Others will also use CFL or LED lights to save electricity on lighting, or hotel restaurants may implement simple changes such as offering water only upon request to conserve water and the energy used to wash glasses. Other hotels have started using eco-friendly soaps and shampoos, or even forgoing these luxuries altogether.
How to Find a Green Hotel: There are two main ways to find a green hotel. You can visit the websites of the major hotel chains, or whichever hotels you are interested in, and see if their website is outfitted with a logo certifying that they are a green hotel. One of the best certifications to watch for is the Green Business Bureau certification logo. Hotels sporting the GBB seal of approval have taken significant efforts to reduce their energy costs and waste, making their business more sustainable and your accommodations more eco-friendly.
Among the most popular hotel chains who are currently working on going green are Hilton and Marriot. The Marriot hotels are taking their green initiative very seriously by seeking LEED certification on many of their new buildings. This means that the buildings will be built to be energy efficient and have a small carbon footprint. Go to www.gbb.org to learn more about green hotels and to find a green hotel on your travel route.
The Advantages of Green Rental Cars: There are two aspects to renting a green car, and we do not mean color. Today, a green car rental is most likely to be a hybrid vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius. Hybrids run off a combination of gasoline and electricity produced from engine breaking, allowing them to get excellent gas mileage and produce fewer emissions than traditional petro powered vehicles. But rental companies can make themselves even greener through sustainable business practices. One way some companies do this is by fueling their fleets with vegetable oil based bio-diesel. Depending on the level of “green” that you want to see in a rental car service provider, you may have to do a little homework.
How to Find Green Rental Cars: While the world is going green, the rental car industry is only just starting to get into the action. Green rental cars can be a challenge to find, but the GBB can help. Our database of 3,000 green businesses includes a number of rental vehicles companies, including both van and passenger vehicle rentals. Of course, you can look for green rental cars by simply perusing the advertisements and websites, looking for companies with green certifications or who specifically list their own green initiatives on their sites.
Budget car rentals and Avis rent-a-car both have hybrid options available; you can learn more by visiting their sites. Many web based travel sites, including Travelocity and Expedia have listings of eco-friendly vehicle rental companies. However, searching is made easier at www.gbb.org, where you can find a listing of companies who have made a concerted effort to go green in their daily operations. Every day we are adding new companies and the transportation section is building up fast.