NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Horsham, PA, United States, 2009/09/22 - The Green Key Eco-Rating Program (Green Key), the first of its kind to rank and certify hotels and resorts based on their commitment to sustainable “green” practices, has expanded its operations to the United States.
The launch of the website greenkeyglobal.com signifies the evolution of the program from its Canadian roots to one that serves the needs of conservation-minded properties across Canada and the U.S.
The Green Key evaluation is a comprehensive 140-question audit that is self-administered by the staff at the participating property. The audit covers the following operational areas and sustainable practices:
• Corporate Environmental Management
• Food & Beverage Operations
• Conference & Meeting Facilities
• Energy conservation
• Water conservation
• Solid waste management
• Hazardous waste management
• Indoor air quality
• Community outreach
• Building infrastructure
• Land use
• Environmental management
Upon completion, the answers are tabulated and the property is awarded a ranking of 1 to 5 Keys and a corresponding display plaque. The property also receives a comprehensive report that includes recommendations, best practices and potential areas for improvement and savings. Unlike other programs of this nature, Green Key includes random, on-site verification of audit results, mitigating the risk of score inflation.
“Our research indicated that a robust third-party audit verification process was crucial to transition the program to the United States,” explained Tony Pollard, President of the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). “LRA Worldwide was a natural partner for this function based on the firm’s stellar global reputation for hotel quality assurance inspections.”
The cornerstone of the program is its focus on sound sustainable practices specifically for the lodging industry. Green Key was developed by a leading environmental engineering firm with support from the Canadian Government to withstand the scrutiny of a wide-range of environmental experts. The program has also received praise from the U.S. Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (OFEE), the Partnership for Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and the Rainforest Alliance and is listed in the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) Green Resource Center.
“The Green Key Eco-Rating Program is the only one of its kind that addresses the specific needs of hotel operators,” said Arthur Hall Adams, a LEED Accredited Professional and CEO of the environmental architecture and design firm AHAdams & Company. “This program is sound environmentally and fiscally and is an exciting addition to the ‘green’ movement.”
The Green Key website will serve as a powerful tool for consumers to research eco-friendly hotels; recent industry studies have indicated that as many as 60-percent of potential hotel guests consider a property’s environmental program prior to booking. Likewise, participating hotels will not only benefit financially from increased bookings and reduced operating costs, but from the ability to fulfill what is an increasingly widespread corporate responsibility mandate throughout the hospitality industry to lessen one’s environmental footprint.
"Grand Hyatt New York has been a Green Key member since December and in that time we have been able to improve our environmental management by actively working on recommendations received from the audit,” explained Diana Beltran, Environmental Development Manager for Grand Hyatt New York. “We are excited to continue our involvement with the Green Key program, as we share the same values: improving in the three P's - Planet, People and Profit."
About Green Key
The Green Key Eco-Rating Program (greenkeyglobal.com) is the first of its kind to rank, certify and inspect hotels and resorts in North America based on their commitment to sustainable “green” operations. The program was originally developed for the Hotel Association of Canada by a leading environmental engineering firm with funding from the Canadian Government. Designed specifically for hotel operations, the Green Key Eco-Rating Program is a comprehensive environmental audit that will allow each participating property to benefit on several fronts – cost savings, increased bookings from environmentally conscious consumers and meeting planners and responsible corporate citizenry. In the United States Green Key is a joint partnership between the Hotel Association of Canada and LRA Worldwide, Inc.