Green Families traveling to the US, look for the Green Seal!

Many environmentalist will argue that travel is not “green” friendly. They encourage us to stay close to home and the term “staycation” has been coined as a way to make staying at home for a holiday more appealing. As a parent, this is a hard sell to my little ones, who are excited to head to the beach or explore a new city for their days off from school. I have to admit, even being a green mom, that I support their desire to explore the big wide world, and encourage them to become interested in the culture of other places and the desire to see things other than their everyday scenery. But how do I encourage travel while keeping our carbon footprint in check?

The Green Seal may be able to help. Certified hotels are required to minimize waste, reuse & recycle; be energy and water efficient; reduce or eliminate any hazardous substances and establish an environmentally sensitive purchasing policy. Out of the many hotels that applied for this highly coveted seal in the United States, 85 of them in 20 states across the country have been awarded the Green Seal.

But what does this really mean when it comes to being green and traveling?

Hotels certified under Green Seal's Lodging Standard reduce their carbon footprint. As an example, three of Kimpton's Chicago properties-Hotel Monaco, Hotel Burnham and Hotel Allegro diverted about 116 tons of recyclables from landfills last year, or about 45 percent of such waste after green certification.  New research indicated that one Green Seal certified hotel saved green house gas emissions equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 73 passenger vehicles or the CO2 emissions from the energy use of 35 homes for one year.

“Green Seal certified lodging is expanding hotel-by-hotel and chain-by-chain,” said Dr. Arthur Weissman, President and CEO.  “We are encouraged that both the Kimpton Hotels and Great Wolf Resorts have recognized the value of chain-wide green certification.  Kimpton, a lifestyle boutique hotel company, is aggressively moving forward to attain 100 percent Green Seal certification this spring and Great Wolf Resorts, North America's largest family indoor water park resorts, was the first to have all U.S. properties Green Seal certified in the spring of 2009.”

A water park with a Green Seal, did I mention I have 2 kids, see you there!

There are currently three levels a hotel can qualify for: Bronze, Silver and Gold – so look out for these seals or even ask when you are booking a hotel if they are a Green Seal hotel and what level do they have.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this logo of green excellence, here is your Green Seal 101.

  1. Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that uses science-based standards to indicate (and help) companies to produce products or services to the public that are environmentally sustainable.
  2. Green Seal works with manufacturers, industry sectors, purchasing groups, and governments at all levels to "green" the production and purchasing chain. They utilize a life-cycle approach, which means evaluating a product or service beginning with material extraction, continuing with manufacturing and use, and ending with recycling and disposal.
  3. Products only become Green Seal certified after rigorous testing and evaluation, including on-site plant visits.
  4. Green Seal's standard-setting process is open, collaborative, fair, and completely transparent.

Now to find a green way to get to these hotels, we will let you know what we find!