Everything you need to know about green hotel certifications

The green/eco/environmentally friendly movement has gained popularity, and there is no sign that it will end soon. Most consumers are aware of green hotel certifications vouching for practices like these in the hospitality industry. For this reason, their choice of booking one property instead of another may depend on eco-friendliness. There are different kinds of certifications ranging from low to high cost, for instance, TripAdvisor offers free certification after conducting a survey. 

However, most of these surveys will cost hotel owners money as they require physical visits to the properties by third-party auditors who carry out a complete analysis of environmental practices. Keep in mind that while there are certifications that work well for every property, some do not. For example, LEED is only suitable for full renovation projects and new builds.

Also, it�d help to remember that every certification comes with its associated costs. Certifications requiring in-person visits or frequent seconds will cost more than programs provided by smaller companies and associations. This, however, shouldn’t worry you as the cost will make up for itself within a short time provided guests respond positively to the green hotel certification. Ideally, Ecotel certification aims at conserving the environment and amplifying your profile among like-minded guests. So, as you choose your certifications, prioritise those with the ability to increase your visibility.

What Is a Green Hotel?

Commonly referred to as a sustainable or eco-hotel, a green hotel is one that prioritises sustainability throughout its operations. Within this definition, there is an extensive spectrum of varying approaches. On one end, there are those hotels built from scratch with sustainability in mind. Such eco-hotels considered sustainability during the design stage, building the structure in a manner that lessens its impact on the environment. Sustainable building practices are environmentally friendly as they use less energy and reuse raw materials during the building phase. The completed building will incorporate technologies and fixtures that promote energy savings, water preservation, and waste management, such as water recycling systems and solar power.

On the other side of the spectrum are existing hotels that update their properties and practices to improve their environmental friendliness. While they may not necessarily have acted in accordance with sustainable building practices, these green hotels’ operations are geared towards sustainability. This could include features such as low-flow toilets, LED lighting, capturing and reusing rainwater, and programs such as encouraging travelers to launder their bedding and towel less often during their time at the hotel.

How do I make my hotel green?

When it comes to establishing your hotel�s green credentials, there are several ways to go about it. Of course, some of them have proven better than others. But, you should never pay superficial lip service to greening your property lest you be ousted for greenwashing�a term for companies that promote inflated green credentials without affecting any meaningful changes.

Generally, here are the things hoteliers should consider:

  • Improving your property�s sustainability around energy efficiency, water usage, and waste management
  • Maximising the economic and social benefits for the surrounding community
  • Reducing negative impacts on the environment
  • Assessing your supply chain sustainability as it reflects on your property during certification processes

As a hotel owner or manager, the first step in making your hotel green is deciding on the Ecotel certification you�d wish to pursue. Different Ecotel certifications have different requirements. This way, you can follow the necessary steps to qualify. If you fail to do this, you risk allocating resources to areas that will not help you acquire the certification that increases your credibility among eco-conscious guests.

Examples of global hotel eco-certifications

Some of the global green hotel certifications include:

  • LEED: The LEED program recognises properties constructed from scratch with sustainable practices in mind. Because it is only applicable to new properties, the program will not have relevance to everyone.
  • Green Globe: Besides measuring your hotel business’s social, economic, and environmental sustainability, the Green Globe Certification also measures the sustainability of your supply chain partners. Green Globe uses third-party auditors to perform an analysis of your property and is among the most rigorous eco certifications for green hotels globally.
  • TripAdvisor Green Leaders: The reason behind the development of this certification was to recognise green B&Bs and hotels with environmentally friendly practices. Some of the things the program considers include energy usage tracking, linen reuse programs, and wastewater treatment.
  • Green Key Global: This is an environmental certification body for hotels and meetings. With more corporations considering the carbon footprint and environmental impact, the Green Key Global certification is best suited for hotels with strong business meetings.

What is EarthCheck certification?

EarthCheck certification is the accreditation given by EarthCheck�a large global organisation tasked with providing software, consulting, and certification services. This certification is a rigorous process that covers all kinds of accommodations. The assessment utilises various criteria from energy efficiency, land use planning, waste management, greenhouse gas emissions, and social management.

One of the benefits accruing from EarthCheck certification is an in-built marketing advantage stemming from the organisation�s name: journalists use the name as a filter to find highly sustainable hotels.

How do green certification programs of hotels help the hospitality industry?

In the hospitality industry, both small and large companies are beginning to embrace Ecotel certification programs. Why is this so? Here are the primary benefits that this has to the hospitality industry:

  • These programs help businesses in the hospitality industry save money in the long run
  • Hospitality businesses can attract more travelers searching for eco-friendly places for their stay
  • Green certifications have witnessed the enforcement of environmental regulations in the hospitality industry

To sum it up, with most establishments going green, the green movement is one that isn�t ending anytime soon. A shift to this side is particularly important for hotel owners who want to retain their customers as most travelers are always on the lookout for green hotels. Depending on the nature of your business, there are several hotel eco-certifications available to hoteliers. Besides attracting more customers to your hotel, going green also helps save money.