What is Green Certification?

Green certification evaluates and recognizes pre-determined requirements or criteria for environmental performance. There are a number of green certification programs for the hospitality sector.  These programs typically require a number of environmental best practices and some type of  property audit to become certified.  Below are 6 areas in which New Jersey hotels should concentrate, to make the most of their eco-friendly efforts:

Energy Efficiency
Green can mean Green. Energy savings can equal cost savings. Energy is a controllable expense and many organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency and their Energy Star program has determined the cost-benefits of energy reduction in the hospitality industry. A 10% reduction in energy costs is equivalent to increasing Revenues Per Available room by $.60 for limited service hotels and by more than $2.00 for full-service hotels. Reducing energy use by 10% across the lodging industry would save $745 million per year. The increased usage of renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal is another method of also decreasing the usage of traditional fuel sources like gas and electricity that creates carbon emissions and pollution.

Waste Reduction and Reuse and Recycling
New Jersey tourism industry serves an estimated 20 million visitors annually. The hospitality industry is estimated to generate $100 million to tourism in the state. The guests that stay in these lodging facilities generate a large stream of waste for the state. The majority of the waste for lodging is associated with first food and beverage and second with the guest rooms. The state’s overall environmental footprint will be reduced if lodging facilities reduce their waste.

Water Conservation
Water is a natural resource that continues to be constrained due to pollution. In the state of New Jersey water is a precious commodity for the tourism industry. A majority of the water in the state of New Jersey comes from groundwater aquifers that are replenished by rainfall.

Indoor Air Quality
Clean air practices have continued to progress forward in the last decade. Energy efficiency practices and the improvement of air quality in green buildings has been a focus of many third party certification programs. It has been found that “healthy buildings and sustainable practices” have had a positive impact to the bottom line due to improved employee and guest satisfaction which in turn results in improved customer service and operating procedures in lodging facilities.

Education and Communication (Associates, Customers, Public)
Education is the foundation of an environmental and certification program. Once all constituents understand the role they can play and the benefits of a sustainability program they are able to fully support and implement it. Ongoing communication clearly lets guests, customers, and suppliers understand our commitment to the environment and the natural resources in our communities. The positive impact and messaging will instill pride and commitment to deliver the program.

Transportation is a key driver of travel and tourism. Lodging facilities use vehicles to not only transport customers, but also enable their employees to get to and from work. Ensuring that fuel-efficient cars are used as well as smoke free facilities and using paint that is low in chemicals are other programs facilities can implement.