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The University Magazine

RIT aids New York's green hospitality certification program

Anahita Williamson

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has launched an initiative to certify lodging establishments as "green" for their use of environmentally friendly and sustainable practices.

Forty-three hotels and inns are the first to participate in the certification process, including the RIT Inn and Conference Center in Henrietta.

The Green Lodging Certification program combines environmentally sound business practices with financially feasible solutions. 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 RIT, 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.

The certification program is part of a larger initiative to support and market sustainable tourism throughout New York. 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.

Will Dube '09