Missouri Travelers Will Find Newly Certified Green Hotels

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, December 30, 2008 (ENS) - The Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association has developed a program to certify hotels and other lodging establishments that use sustainable and green business practices. The Certified Green program and its website, www.lodgingmissouri.com, will launch on January 1, 2009.

Missouri's Green Lodging Certification is a pilot project of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that will be conducted in cooperation with the association to recognize those lodgings that go beyond existing state and federal regulations to insure that their operations have a minimal environmental impact on their local communities.

"The association's holistic approach to a broad range of environmental issues is a model which can be used by other segments of our economy," DNR Director Doyle Childers said in a statement Monday.

"Guests staying at these hotels will be assured through this public-private partnership that the business where they are staying is taking the extra steps necessary to reduce their environmental impact," Childers said.

The program will look at energy conservation, water conservation, waste minimization and recycling, landscaping and maintenance, air emissions, and housekeeping practices at establishments that apply for certification.

Each participating lodging business completes an on-line application providing information about its operation.

DNR program staff will review answers and calculate the facility's score. Those attaining a score of 100 or above will be certified.

Existing environmental auditors from the DNR's regional offices will make pre-arranged on-site visits to confirm specific aspects of the original self certification.

During the ensuing two years, each facility will be required to attain a score of 130 points in order for the certification to be extended for another two years.

Certified establishments will receive a plaque from the association, use of the Certified Green logo for printed and online materials, and listing on the association's website as a DNR-certified property.

The Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association is providing a special benefit and marketing program to their members who achieve a state certification.

Authorization for the pilot program is contained in a Executive Order issued November 13, 2008 by Governor Matt Blunt that emphasizes the importance of Missouri's $14 billion annual tourist industry to the state's economy.

"Increasingly, travelers prefer to support local businesses that can document a commitment to environmental protection," the governor stated in his Order.

"For decades, visitors from across the country and around the world have been making the trip to Missouri to experience the wide range of amenities and recreation opportunities, and to simply enjoy our state's wonderful hospitality," the governor said, announcing the pilot program. "This executive order affirms Missouri's commitment to protecting our environment, creates a new tool to give visitors the opportunity to identify responsible businesses, and ensures Missouri remains a top destination choice for travelers the world over."

Kansas City already has at least one green hotel. This year, the historic Quarterage Hotel has completed a total renovation and transformation into the Q Hotel + Spa by using a nationally recognized eco-plan.

Some of the green features include in-room recycling, Green Seal approved cleaning products, energy efficient water and electrical devices, a hybrid shuttle vehicle and the availability of guest bicycles.

{Photo: A guest room in the Q Hotel + Spa, Kansas City, Missouri courtesy Q Hotel + Spa)

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