Most travellers, by nature, care about the world around them. So it’s no surprise that more and more travellers are looking to plan “green” trips and booking hotels that share their eco-minded sensibilities. Here are some tips on how to make informed choices when deciding where to stay:
ASK THE RESERVATIONS TEAM ABOUT ECO-FRIENDLY PRACTICES.
A hotel that cares about environmental stewardship will be eager to share its mission with guests. Ask the following questions before you book: What is your plastics policy? Do you operate paperless? Do you have energy- and water-saving measures in place? Is your accommodation certified for environmental sustainability? This way, you’re gathering data and also sending a message that regenerative practices matter.
CHECK THE PROPERTY’S WEBSITE FOR A SUSTAINABILITY PAGE.
Any property with a strong environmental commitment will clearly reference its practices. Setting a high benchmark is Trout Point Lodge, in Nova Scotia, whose site details eco-conscious design and construction choices. They also use grey water in the garden, launder sheets less often and encourage staff to carpool or bike.
An AMA Travel counsellor can help you find eco-friendly accommodations.
LOOK FOR THIRD-PARTY CREDENTIALS FROM A TRUSTED ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION.
Not all green accreditations are created equally. Here are two you can trust. Ottawa-based Green Key Global rates (and audits) hotels, based on criteria such as energy and water conservation, waste management and building infrastructure. The widely used certification system LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) recognizes excellence in green design and construction practices. In Alberta, the Element by Westin Calgary Airport is the first LEED-certified hotel. It has recycled cork floors in its gym, electric car–charging stations and water-efficient faucets.
FIND OUT IF THE HOTEL OPERATES AS PART OF A LIKE-MINDED INDUSTRY NETWORK.
Regenerative travel destinations, such as Vancouver Island’s Inn at Laurel Point, work with other businesses to set a higher bar. This carbon-neutral inn is the first hotel in North America to join The Climate Pledge network, a collaboration of companies tackling climate change. The Inn at Laurel Point even recycles sheets for use as bandages in developing countries and utilizes ocean water for hydrothermal heating and cooling.
VENTURE OFF THE GRID.
Vacationing, surrounded by nature, using only renewable energy sources and composting toilets, is an option that’s both rewarding and environmentally sound. Algonquin Eco-Lodge, in Ontario, fits the bill. It’s fully powered by micro-hydro electricity generated by waterfalls. It also offers an eco-volunteering summer program for guests interested in projects like clearing out overgrown streams or building trail bridges.