Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Not All About LEED Certification: Celebrating Eco-Friendly Travel

This is a guest post from Sam Marquit, he is an independent ‘green’ contractor and co-author of Fair Marquit Value.

It's Not All About LEED Certification: Celebrating Eco-Friendly Travel

Being a commercial contractor gives me some insight into the building practices and materials used in today's construction world. While many businesses are choosing more self-sustaining products and environmentally friendly materials, they focus too much on becoming LEED certified. Of course it is a great achievement and it's a step in the right direction, but I'm definitely more interested in businesses that are going above and beyond to be more eco-friendly. Many businesses in Asia compete for awards in the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards. With categories such as wildlife preservation, cultural awareness and resource efficiency, businesses can earn recognition. Businesses get recognized for celebrating local culture or even installing materials or products that cut down on waste. That's the sort of thing that businesses should be celebrating in America as well.

There are some businesses gaining recognition for their usage of green technology. The hospitality and tourism industry is perhaps one of the most wasteful business economies in America. While there are many ways to use energy and resources more efficiently, many businesses often don't take these steps. The primary reason for this is that it's difficult to start or more costly to make the investment. That hasn't stopped a myriad of hotels in Las Vegas from making these changes. As one of the most popular destinations in travel today, Las Vegas saw 40,000,000 travelers last year and has over 120,000 hotel rooms.

The Las Vegas Palazzo Hotel won the "Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America." This hotel has a variety of ways in which it cuts down on waste and even reuses waste. In addition, its facilities have self-sustaining technology, which again cuts down on resources. There are plenty of hotels in America that are becoming more eco-friendly. The changes hotels are making result in some great benefits for both their guests and the organization itself. In New York City, for example, the ink48 Hotel has a program called Earthcare. This program allows members talk about ways that we can positively affect the environment. Businesses can incorporate green technology, eco-friendly materials and also create community development programs.

I'm so proud to be a part of the construction industry at this juncture. There are a ton of businesses that want to replace their facilities with self-sustaining technology. Making sure that they will be using less energy and even creating green energy. There is still a ton of waste out there, but as the eco-friendly travel trend grows, I think more businesses will see the benefits of becoming more than LEED certified.

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