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Florida Green Lodging Program designates 35 new members, three Sanibel properties

By Staff | Nov 26, 2008

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently designated 36 properties in the Florida Green Lodging Program, including recognizing the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center with a Two Palm designation for its continuing and increased energy conservation and pollution prevention measures since original designation in 2004.

The voluntary state initiative provides the lodging industry with free technical assistance, encouraging hotels and motels to adopt cost-saving “green” practices that reduce waste, conserve natural resources and improve the bottom line.

“We are pleased to welcome these properties to our program, which now consists of 361 designated properties statewide,” said DEP Director of Sustainable Initiatives Deas Bohn. “We applaud the new members, as well as our newest designated Two Palm property, for helping us work toward a sustainable future.”

Several of the recently designated properties are implementing practices above and beyond what is required for program designation. The Embassy Suites Tampa Westshore Airport conserves water by using a special dehumidifier which creates drinking water for its employees. The Doubletree Guest Suites Tampa Bay preserves energy by using an on-demand heat source for its ovens and deep-fryers; while many of the signature dishes of the Sanibel Inn’s restaurant feature fruits, vegetables and herbs grown in the property’s edible garden.

On Sanibel, three properties — Sanibel Inn, Song of the Sea and Sunset Beach Resort — have been designated as members of the Florida Green Lodging Program. Other Southwest Florida members include SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Fort Myers, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Naples and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Marco Island.

To become a designated member of the Florida Green Lodging Program, hotels must implement a variety of green practices. These practices include, but are not limited to, water conservation measures by installing low flow plumbing fixtures and implementing a linen reuse program, and energy efficiency achieved by installing ENERGY STAR appliances and programmable thermostats. The waste reduction criteria are met by providing the opportunity to recycle, purchasing items in bulk, purchasing recycled materials and by recycling ink and toner cartridges. All designated properties must also use green cleaners and high efficiency air filters, and clean air handler units frequently.

Launched in March 2004, the Florida Green Lodging Program establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. As reward for designation, the state is recommending designated properties in the Florida Green Lodging Program to companies and trade organizations seeking environmentally conscious lodging and convention facilities. To date, the program has 361 designated properties and more than 400 applications.

For more information about the Florida Green Lodging Program, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging.