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How to tell if a hotel is green

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Posted by Richard Hammond at 11:19 on Saturday 27 November 2010

The Old Rectory B&B, Cornwall has a walled organic garden providing fruit and vegetables, generates electricity through solar panels and is oil-free thanks to a new biomass boiler which runs on wood pellets.The Old Rectory B&B, Cornwall has a walled organic garden providing fruit and vegetables, generates electricity through solar panels and is oil-free thanks to a new biomass boiler which runs on wood pellets.A rapidly increasing number of accommodation owners are going to great lengths to reduce the impact of their business on the environment, but unfortunately there are also lots of unscrupulous businesses that are jumping on the 'eco' bandwagon and it can be difficult to tell the green from the greenwash. Here are five questions to find out how green your hotel is:

Do they reduce their draw on energy?
For example, do they have solar thermal for hot water, photo-voltaic panels and/or wind turbines for generating electricity, and/or ground-source heat pumps? How well insulated is the building? Are their appliances, such as fridges and kettles, A-rated or better?

Do they minimise the amount of waste they send to landfill?
For example, do they provide recycling bins for guests? Are they separated into plastic, paper, card, aluminium and glass? Do they have bulk dispenses instead of miniatures for toiletries, bathroom soaps and shampoo? 

Do they reduce their consumption of water?
For example, do they have water savers in cisterns, flow restrictors in showerheads and taps? How do they reduce the amount of washing? Do they use environmentally friendly cleaning products? Do they harvest rainwater for use in toilets and/or garden? Do they meter and monitor their supply? 

How much of the food they serve is sourced locally?
Do they provide local and/or seasonal and/or organic food? Do they offer vegetarian food?

Do they actively encourage guests to arrive on foot, by bike and by public transport?
For example, do they provide information for guests on how to arrive by bike and/or public transport? Do they offer a discount for guests arriving on foot, by bike or by public transport?

We've asked these questions to all of the owners of accommodations featured on greentraveller. Only those that satisfied us that they are genuinely committed to sustainable tourism appear on this site. To browse all of our green places to stay, see Green Hotels and Eco Accommodation

by Richard Hammond [updated: 27 June 2014]

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