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Travel Tip: Defining Green Hotels

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In the past few years, the term “LEED-certified” has become something of a benchmark. It’s certainly one of the ways to determine whether a hotel is green. But it’s not the only way.

LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council is definitely one of the toughest in the industry, both for newly constructed and repurposed buildings. It’s also an expensive endeavor, in terms of research, equipment and yes, application fees.

But there are other types of certification that you can look for in your next hotel. Look for the Green Seal, which has three levels of pretty strict certification. These guys also certify items like cleaning and personal care products.

Green Globe is a standard for hotels, restaurants and even golf courses, and it’s a process that is used worldwide.

Now, on the one hand, just because a lodge or resort calls itself “eco” that doesn’t mean it’s all that friendly. But the opposite is also true: Even if it hasn’t sought out that stamp of approval, it may still have some green elements.

Look for practices like in-house recycling, native landscaping, using reclaimed materials and, perhaps most important, giving back to the local community through jobs and sustainable programs.

Keep reading for more travel tips.