NEWS: New York State’s Green Hospitality Program

Dispatch from SSC Intern Nick Foster

Commissioner Pete Grannis of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced the implementation of a hotel certification program that demonstrates an establishment’s commitment to going green. “The bottom line is that environmentally sound management practices lead to greater profitability, keeping New York’s businesses competitive and saving jobs,” said Grannis.

The system works like a five-star rating system: a hotel or inn with superb sustainability practices will receive a five-leaf rating under the new program, and those who need to make changes in their operations will receive four or fewer leaves.  The four major assessments of sustainability for this new program include energy efficiency, environmental management, pollution prevention, and resource conservation. All audits will be conducted by New York’s Pollution Prevention Institute (P2I) through technical recommendations or on-site visits to assess the lodgers overall environmental impacts.

Dennis M. Mullen, Chairman and CEO of the Empire State Development Corp, commented:

Tourism is a vital and growing component of New York State’s economy. By promoting sustainable tourism, we are helping to keep the industry ahead of the curve…while protecting our most valuable resources and securing a healthier, more environmentally friendly future – a true win-win for everyone.
There are other similar programs and certifications that already exist, such as the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, but none have been embraced on a national level.  Many of their greening components include reusing linens and towels, replacing inefficient heating and cooling systems, and improving conference facilities.

With cloudy global economic climate and the forecasted rise in energy prices, it can be assumed that travelers are going to be much more selective of the types of establishments they choose to lodge at when vacationing.  The hotels and resorts that can exemplify their commitment to the environment and pass a small amount of their savings to consumers will ultimately out-compete those who have a tarnished environmental record.   
Find out more about the New York State Green Hospitality Certification