A new brand of green hospitality is generating buzz across the country--and it's no longer simply a matter of urging guests to reuse their towels. Many profit-minded hotels are installing solar panels, using nontoxic cleaners, and even growing their own organic food on the premises.
The Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa, which opened recently in Northern California, was built from timber approved by the Forest Stewardship Council and is partly illuminated by high-efficiency tubular skylights that direct sunlight to the interior halls. The Gaia derives 10 percent of its electricity from solar panels, and a lobby fountain circulates captured rainwater.
At the new Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina, 75 percent of the construction waste was recycled, its water is heated by 4,000 square feet of solar panels, and a state-of-the-art elevator creates electricity as it descends.
More earthily, the Doubletree Hotel in Portland, Oregon, composts 14 tons of waste monthly and is working to eliminate its landfill impact by 2015. To find other ecofriendly accommodations, visit greenseal.org/findaproduct/#lodging or ecorooms.com. --D.O.