State Unveils Green Hospitality Certification Program

New initiative encourages hoteliers to go green, save green

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced the launch of a new initiative to certify lodging establishments as “green” for employing environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. Forty-three hotels and inns are the first to sign on for the certification process, including the RIT Inn & Conference Center in Henrietta.

“Green tourism is good for our economy and good for our environment,” says Gov. David Patterson. “I am pleased that New York will soon have 43 new green hotels, providing travelers with green lodging options while they enjoy all of the natural beauty and tourism opportunities that New York has to offer.”

“The Green Lodging Program recognizes hoteliers’ environmental best practices,” adds Grannis. “Whether they have been incorporating green practices for years or are just starting out, hotels and inns of any size can participate in this program.

The Green Lodging Certification program combines environmentally sound business practices with financially feasible solutions. Under the program, hoteliers focus on saving energy, trimming waste disposal, using water efficiently and conserving resources, while improving their bottom line. Candidates will be evaluated in energy efficiency, environmental management, pollution prevention and resource conservation. Green credentials will be certified by the Audubon GreenLeaf program. Based on environmental performance, a hotel could be assigned one to five green leaves.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, housed at Rochester Institute of Technology, will conduct the program in conjunction with the partnership, providing technical assistance and site visits. The institute provides direct assistance to state businesses and organizations to green their operations and enhance their bottom line.

“The Green Lodging Certification program will assist hotels and motels in reducing their environmental footprint, decrease overhead costs and improve their overall competitiveness,” says Anahita Williamson, director of the Pollution Prevention Institute. “We are proud to assist the Department of Environmental Conservation in this effort, which will ultimately enhance New York’s hotel industry, reduce pollution and improve environmental quality throughout the state.”

The certification program is part of a larger initiative to support and market sustainable tourism throughout New York, highlighting the state’s diverse natural resources as tourism destinations, connecting travelers to green businesses and assisting New York’s tourism businesses to go green. The New York State Green Hospitality and Tourism Partnership, a combination of state agencies, business associations and academia, worked together to initiate the certification program. Earlier this year, the partnership helped launch the “Green Restaurant Certification” process.

“Tourism is a vital and growing component of New York State’s economy as visitors and residents enjoy all this great state has to offer,” says Dennis Mullen, chairman and CEO designate of the Empire State Development Corp. “The tourism partnership will take it a step further. By promoting sustainable tourism, we are helping to keep the industry ahead of the curve, ultimately saving money and jobs, while protecting our most valuable resources and securing a healthier, more environmentally friendly future—a true win-win for everyone.”

The partnership offers technical assistance to targeted industries and works to establish green benchmarking in the various areas including hospitality, restaurants, outfitters and transportation. The partnership also recognizes other comparable third-party certification organizations for hotels and restaurants, including Green Seal, a not-for-profit certifier.

For more information about green hotel certification visit To access the Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Greening Your Business” Web page, go to: