Florida A&M University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) – The trend of going green is not only something homeowners are doing; some hotels are jumping on board as well. In 2004, Florida launched a new project called the Florida Green Lodging Program. The program is a voluntary initiative of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). FDEP designates and recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect Florida’s natural resources.
There are roughly 6,000 hotels in the state of Florida, according to Visitflorida.org. But only 680 hotels are a part of this program; that is 10 percent. According to Nicole Garcia, Public Information Officer for the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, “Ten percent is a great number. Ten percent does not seem like a lot but it really is.”
Garcia explained that budget cuts are the main cause for more hotels not being involved. Companies usually use green hotels when they travel for business. Budget cuts have caused companies to not travel outside of their means. “Some hotels don’t see the benefits of turning green,” she noted. Some hotels change managers every year, which may be another reason why more hotels are not a part of this program. Some people just don’t care about being green, said Garcia.
Tony Stagni, manager of the Hilton Garden Inn said, “We are not totally a green hotel. We're about 40 percent, but in the future Hilton will totally be green.”
Being a part of this program does come with its perks. Hotels end up saving thousands of dollars on their bills. More people are attracted to green hotels, which increases the occupancy rate. Hotels are also eligible for the Clean Vessel Act. The program, housed within FDEP’s Office of Sustainable Initiatives, provides grants for construction and installation of sewage pump out facilities.
To maintain designation, properties are required to submit environmental performance data (water, waste and energy) annually, said JoAnn Shearer, Green Lodging Program Coordinator. The Florida Green Lodging Program does plan on hosting workshops in every district about becoming green hotels in the near future. For a list of hotels that are a part of the Florida Green Lodging Program, you can visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging/lodges.htm.