Florida Green Lodging Program reaches 400 milestone
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Florida Green Lodging Program recently designated its 400th property – the Don Cesar Beach Resort, A Loews Hotel – in St. Petersburg Beach. The program’s leap from 100 to more than 400 designated properties in less than a year proves that the green movement in Florida continues to gain momentum under the leadership of Governor Charlie Crist.
With a total of 409 designated properties to date, Green Lodging properties represent more than 116,000 hotel rooms.
“We are pleased with the rapid growth the program has seen within the last year,” said DEP Director of Sustainable Initiatives Deas Bohn. “Since the 2007 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change, where Governor Crist signed a suite of executive orders, more and more lodging facilities recognize that implementing green management practices not only preserves Florida’s environment, but is also good for business – by saving money and attracting new customers.”
Many properties go above and beyond the minimum requirements for designation. Oleta River State Park Cabins installed an Energy Star rated tankless water heater in the bathhouse and solar powered lights on the docks. The Gardens Hotel in Key West replaced carpet with bamboo flooring, implemented the use of biodegradable laundry bags as well as planted an herb/vegetable garden and began composting.
Twenty-four new properties, including Castaways Beach & Bay Resort on Sanibel, recently received a One or Two Palm designation by adopting cost-saving “green” practices that reduce waste and conserve natural resources. Facilities can achieve up to three levels of green within the Florida Green Lodging Program, ranging from One Palm to Three Palm based on increased reductions in waste, water and energy consumption.
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.
For more information about the Florida Green Lodging Program, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging.