Photo: How to find a green hotel

Be prepared to ask about what exactly makes your hotel “green”. (Credit: UggBoy-UggGirl via Flickr)

Indeed, there are green hotels!

Many work to conserve resources like energy and water—by installing everything from energy-efficient lighting to low-flow shower heads. Other green hotels tackle waste and pollution, with food waste composting, in-room recycling, and using eco-friendly cleaning products.

One option is to search the Green Key Eco-Rating Program website. They rate hotels and resorts in Canada, the U.S. and internationally on environmental performance.

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Top Canadian Hotels also allows hotels to self-select as "green" by submitting an evaluation of their environmental performance—energy conservation, pollution prevention etc.—to receive green leafs (1 to 5). It doesn't appear that the actions committed to by the hotels are verified by another third party — or Top Canadian Hotels for that matter — so be wary.

A leader in the green hotel movement has been the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. In 1990, the company launched a Green Hotel Partnership Program to minimize its properties' carbon footprint. In Vancouver, the Fairmont Waterfront raises 500,000 honeybees on its rooftop and maintains a beautiful herb garden (excellent bee food), not to mention serving Ocean Wise seafood, organic wines and much more. They believe they can minimize their environmental impact while offering guests an outstanding experience! And why not?

A simple Internet search using "green hotel" and your destination city will likely reveal a few excellent choices. Be prepared to ask about what exactly makes them "green".

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