A Key West resort, The Banyan Resort and the Gardens Hotel, have become the Florida Keysâ€™ first certified members of the Green Lodging Program, created by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to recognize and reward environmentally conscious lodging facilities in the state.
KEY WEST, FLA.— The Banyan Resort and the Gardens Hotel last week became the Florida Keys’ first certified members of the Green Lodging Program, created by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to recognize and reward environmentally conscious lodging facilities in the state.
The two Old Town Key West properties were awarded “one palm” certification for their environmental commitment in ceremonies attended by State Representative Ron Saunders, Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson, Stacey Mitchell, director of sales for the Monroe County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and Laura Comer and Gus Rios of the DEP.
“These businesses are stepping up to recognize how important our environment is to the Florida Keys, and how important it is to protect what we have,” Saunders says.
The Green Lodging Program establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to adopt cost-saving practices that reduce waste and conserve natural resources. Properties are evaluated in categories including water and energy conservation, waste reduction, indoor air quality and communication of green practices to guests. They must also have goals for continued improvements that can earn them “two palm” and “three palm” certification.
With Future Generations in Mind
At the ceremonies, McPherson, who is also a TDC board member, encouraged implementing green initiatives to safeguard Key West’s environment for future generations.
Celebrating the certification of the two hotels are: (from left) Laura Comer of the Florida DEP; Julie Crane, general manager of the Banyan; Florida State Representative Ron Saunders; Kate Miano, owner of The Gardens; Key West Mayor Morgan McPherson; and Stacey Mitchell, director of sales for the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. (Florida Keys News Bureau Photo)
“I’m excited about businesses taking part in these initiatives,” he said.
Environmentally friendly aspects of the Banyan Resort, a 38-suite property, include a towel and linen reuse program, a recycling program, energy conservation through solar roof panels for pool heating, high-efficiency compact fluorescent lighting, and purchasing products with recycled content such as plastic lumber used for courtyard decking.
The Gardens Hotel, an 18-room property, has implemented an environmental policy to communicate green living to guests as well as elements including low-flow faucets to conserve water and energy, a linen and towel reuse program, an automatic door closer and energy-efficient garden pump, a recycling program, and purchasing products with recycled content and reduced packaging. In addition, four electric cars were purchased for staff errands around Key West.
To reward properties for earning Green Lodging designation, the state of Florida recommends them to companies and trade organizations seeking environmentally conscious lodging and convention facilities. Starting Jan. 1, 2008, state agencies and departments will be required to hold meetings and conferences only at Green Lodging properties.
“In working with the Green Lodging program and getting more lodging properties certified, we are encouraging sustainable and responsible environmental practices throughout the tourism industry,” Mitchell says. “We’re not doing this for ourselves; we’re doing this so future generations will benefit from practices we put in place today.”
Go to The Banyan Resort and the Gardens Hotel.