A Green Priority for Travelers

August 23rd, 2011 by Andrea Bennett

Investing in green certification may be worth the investment for hotels.

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

A recent survey of business and leisure travelers revealed the importance – from the consumer perspective – of hotels to pursue green certification. And though earning a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification can be quite pricey (Forbes has reported that a LEED design and construction review can cost as much as $27,500), it turns out going green is probably worth the investment.

Travelocity’s rating system lets consumers award smiley faces to hotels, and users have consistently rated green hotels higher than non-green hotels; 83 percent of non-green hotels received three smileys or more, while 94 percent of green hotels received the higher ratings. You can find 2,000 such hotels in Travelocity’s Green Hotel Directory.

For business travelers looking for potential locations for their next off-site, there are many additional green-meeting resources online. The U.S.-based EPA program Energy Star rates the energy efficiency of appliances used in businesses, and more than 400 hotels participate in the United States. Earth Check (the organization formerly known as Green Globe) certifies properties in more than 80 countries along stringent guidelines. And a growing number of hotels are now LEED-certified, a program created by the U.S. Green Building Council to certify that buildings meet standards of energy efficiency, conservation and community sensitivity. But some of the best tips for hosting a green meeting can be found at the Green Meeting Industry Council’s website, including surprising information about the cost savings of such simple green moves as putting water in pitchers, providing group transportation and even ditching the individual condiment packets at lunch.

How important is LEED (or the equivalent) certification to you when making travel plans? Let us know.

(A portion of this story was previously published as “Hotels Go Green” on The Responsibility Project on 9/24/10)