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An eco hotel, or a green hotel, is an environmentally sustainable hotel or accommodation that has made important environmental improvements to its structure in order to minimize its impact on the natural environment. The basic definition of an eco-friendly hotel is an environmentally responsible lodging that follows the practices of green living. These hotels have to be certified green by an independent third-party or by the state they are located in. Traditionally, these hotels were mostly presented as Eco Lodges because of their location, often in jungles, and their design inspired by the use of traditional building methods applied by skilled local craftsmen in areas, such as Costa Rica and Indonesia.
These improvements can include non-toxic housekeeping practices, the use of renewable energy, organic soaps, energy-efficient light fixtures, and recycling programs. It is beneficial for these hotels to get certain certifications in order to be environmentally compliant. One beneficial certification specifically for hotels is the LEED certification. A LEED-certified hotel provides benefits to the environment through energy efficient practices. An eco hotel should follow a set of best practices in order to do their part to benefit the environment. Some of these best practices include serving local organic food in restaurants, reusing linens when a guest is staying for more than one night, and incorporating in-room recycling and composting programs. Hotels that have these certifications and best practices can attract environmentally conscious travelers and stand out from other hotels.
An eco hotel must usually meet the following criteria:
- Dependence on the natural environment
- Ecological sustainability
- Proven contribution to conservation
- Provision of environmental training programs
- Incorporation of cultural considerations
- Provision of an economic return to the local community
Green hotels follow strict green guidelines to ensure that their guests are staying in a safe, non-toxic and energy-efficient accommodation. Here are some basic characteristics of a green hotel:
- Housekeeping uses non-toxic cleaning agents and laundry detergent
- 100% organic cotton sheets, towels and mattresses
- Non-smoking environment
- Renewable energy sources like solar or wind energy
- Bulk organic soap and amenities instead of individual packages to reduce waste
- Guest room and hotel lobby recycling bins
- Towel and sheet re-use (guests can tell housekeeping to leave these slightly used items to reduce water consumption)
- Energy-efficient lighting
- On-site transportation with green vehicles
- Serve organic and local-grown food
- Non-disposable dishes
- Offers a fresh-air exchange system
- Greywater recycling, which is the reuse of kitchen, bath and laundry water for garden and landscaping
- Newspaper recycling program
Ecology is a very strong trend, either convictions or a fashion, caring for the earth has become an ideal of many. As a result, eco-hotels have become an increasingly popular alternative in the tourism industry, the increase in demand has led therefore to a large range of hotels with planet friendly options for all requirements.
According to the Royal Spanish Academy, one of the interpretations of the term ecology includes "defense and protection of nature and environment" From what we understand, to be green what is sought is to defend and protect everything natural. around us. contact with nature is something almost inherent to the holiday, providing an opportunity to carry out environmental.
An ecological hotel is one that is fully integrated into the environment without damaging the environment, contributing in some way to progress and improvement of the local community and sustainable growth of the tourism industry.
The term has been used on a more regular basis as new websites devoted to the subject become more prominent and hotel owners become more interested in protecting the areas their guests have come to visit.
New properties are being built from sustainable resources–tropical hardwoods, local stone–and designed to better blend in with their environment. In addition, they are also being run on eco-friendly principles, such as serving organic or locally grown food or using natural cooling as opposed to air conditioning.
Ecolabels are labeling systems that show the environmental impact of good and services within regions around the world.
Ecolabeling of hotels in Europe
The EU Ecolabel is an official sign of the environmental quality of services and goods in the European Union (EU) that is both certified by an independent organization and valid throughout the many member States of the European Union.
Any tourism accommodation operator in the EU - from a large hotel chain to a small farmhouse has been able to apply for the European Eco-label since 2003. The operators must meet strict minimum standards with regard to environmental performance and health standards. These should include the use of renewable energy sources, an overall reduction in energy and water consumption, measures to reduce waste, environmental policy setting and the provision of non-smoking areas.
The first eco-labelled hotel in the European Union was the Sunwing Resort Kallithea, located in Rhodes, Greece in 2003 and the first eco-labelled hotel on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) was the Hotel Jardim Atlântico on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
Ecolabeling of hotels in South America
In Argentina, the Tourism Hotels Association (AHT) has created an annual award, Hoteles Más Verdes (Greener Hotel). The prize – a monetary award and peer-recognition – goes the best eco-hotels in the country, both operating and under construction.
In 2014, the city of Buenos Aires has presented a new labeling system for hotels and hostels, Ecosello. With three levels of certification (Committed, Advanced, and Excellence), the new label aims at developing eco-consciousness among tourism operators in Buenos Aires