With environmental health increasingly rising to the top of global concerns, the tourism industry is following suit. A number of timeshare resorts are evolving to address these concerns by implementing eco-friendly practices such as using energy and water-efficient systems, reducing and managing waste, using recycled and/or locally sourced materials, and even offering eco-friendly cocktails!
According to the United States Green Building Council, “In the United States alone, hotels represent more than 5 billion square feet of space, nearly 5 million guest rooms, and close to $4 billion in annual energy use.”
If living “green” is something that’s important to you in your daily life, it is likely just as important when you travel. Especially if you use your timeshare weeks at different locations each year, how do you go about finding eco-friendly resort options? Fortunately, there are many resorts–both national and international–which currently utilize ecological business solutions.
With a noticeable lack of a comprehensive list of such properties online, we’ve attempted to highlight some of the timeshare resorts in the U.S. that have been recognized for their eco-friendly practices.
Each year, Newsweek, in partnership with Corporate Knights Capital and HIP Investor, ranks the world’s largest companies on corporate sustainability and environmental impact. Many resort systems are among the largest companies in the world, and thus have earned a place on Newsweek’s list. The Newsweek Green Rankings evaluates the 500 largest publicly-traded companies in the United States by market capitalization. Companies are scored based on their performance on eight specific indicators: combined energy productivity, combined greenhouse gas (GHG) productivity, combined water productivity, combined waste productivity, green revenue score, sustainability pay link, sustainability board committee, and audited environmental metrics. The following resort systems appear on the 2016 Newsweek Green Rankings in the U.S. consumer discretionary sector:
-Las Vegas Sands Corp (#39)
-Wyndham Worldwide Corp (#80)
-MGM Resorts International (#109)
-Hilton Worldwide Holdings (#161)
-Marriott International Inc (#206)
-Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (#245)
-Walt Disney Co (#249)
There are, of course, other ways in which hotels can be recognized for their eco-friendly efforts. As of today, the most prominent green building certification a business can achieve is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED is an independent, nonprofit, third-party rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council. By becoming a LEED-certified property, hotels provide numerous benefits for the environment and, in turn, reduce operating costs gained from energy-efficient practices and utility cost savings, while also attracting a widely growing population of eco-conscious guests.
LEED Platinum is the highest level of certification. In order to obtain Platinum status, hotels must earn a minimum of 80 points on a 100-point scoring system. Points can be earned in seven categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in operations, and regional bonus points. There are currently only five LEED Platinum-certified hotels in the United States:
-Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC
-Hotel Skylar in Syracuse, NY
-Bardessono in Yountville, CA
-College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, MD
-W San Francisco in San Francisco, CA
Though there aren’t many Platinum-level options, there are many which hold Gold, Silver, or
Certified status. If you have a particular resort in mind that you want to check, search for it via this website.
If being environmentally conscious is important to you while traveling, there is more you can do beyond staying at eco-friendly resorts:
-Pack light. The more a plane weighs, the more carbon emissions it produces, so pack only what you absolutely need.
-Turn off lights, TV, and any heating/cooling when you leave your room.
-Reuse your shower towels.
-Avoid plastic water bottles and bring a reusable bottle instead.
-Take public transportation or walk as often as you can when you leave the hotel.
-Purchase food, drinks, and souvenirs from local vendors.
Do you practice ecotourism? Have you noticed any resorts in particular that are making an effort to be green? Share your story with us–we would love to hear it!