When you're sitting down to book a hotel for your next trip, do you know what to look for to make sure you're making the most eco-friendly choice? See the meanings of each of the seals above to make a mental checklist before confirming your reservation. Green Key Eco-Rating Program: The Green Key Eco-Rating Program is the first of its kind to certify and inspect hotels in North America based on their commitment to sustainable operations. This seal is the only one for the US and it's taken quite seriously. It's the benchmark for hotels in our country.Green Seal Certified: Green Seal is an independent non-profit organization that uses science-based programs and the power of the marketplace to create a more sustainable world. This one might not be at the top of your list of certifications to look for when booking, but it is an added bonus if the place you're staying happens to have it! US Green Building Counsil: The U.S. Green Building Council awards LEED certification to hotels around the world that are built and/or operated for improved environmental performance. Although there are only a small handful of them so far, the numbers are growing with new construction every year as more and more hotels are starting off with this certification in mind. Green Globe: Green Globe Certification operates in 83 countries worldwide and certifies sustainable operations and management of travel and tourism companies. Countries that might not have other certifications will often sport this one since it expands across the entire planet. Energy Star: The EPA offers the ENERGY STAR to hotels demonstrating superior energy performance, which are independently verified by a licensed Professional Engineer. It takes into account more than just what type of light bulbs are being used and checks into appliances in rooms, the kitchen and even how the elevators are being powered! Rainforest Alliance Certified: The Rainforest Alliance helps tourism businesses continually improve their environmental and sociocultural practices and helps to prepare them for certification. Many places with this seal won't be sporting many of the others above, but it's a good sign that they're on the right track.
(Images: Logos as linked above)