The takeaway message:

Last month, 15 Northwest Florida hotels committed to the Florida Green Lodging Program, an initiative to recognize and reward environmentally conscious lodging facilities in the state.

What’s going on?

Created by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Green Lodging Program designates and recognizes lodging facilities that commit to conserving the state’s natural resources. The 15 hotels that recently pledged to the program will now formally participate in eco-friendly practices such as reducing waste, conserving water, using less energy and recycling. The program’s environmental guidelines and tier system allows lodging facilities to continuously set new goals and work toward improving environmental performance.

Launched in 2004, the program now has 378 total participants. In order to become designated, participating hotels must implement a specified number of environmental practices in five areas of sustainable operations: communication and education; waste reduction, reuse and recycling; water conservation; energy efficiency; and indoor air quality. The DEP states that because of these practices, participating facilities will see a reduction in operating costs as well as an increase in hotel occupancy rates.

Why it matters.

The tourism industry is one of the largest commercial sectors in Florida. According to Visit Florida researchers, an estimated 131 million people visited Florida in 2019. Additionally, the Florida DEP states that more than 50% of these visitors reside at a hotel during their stay.

By participating in the green lodging program, the hospitality industry must evaluate their current practices and then partake in more environmentally friendly habits. Facilities in the Florida Green Lodging Program reduced landfill waste by more than 1.5 million pounds in 2018 alone.

The adoption of more sustainable practices helps participating hotels save money and can encourage guests to act similarly. As consumers become increasingly eco-conscious, hotels engaging in these sustainable solutions will draw in new guests. Alongside these advantages, the state and local governments give priority to these program participants when visiting or organizing conferences. The Florida DEP also states that the 15 facilities new to the program will see a reduction in operating costs as well as an increase in hotel occupancy rates.

Additionally, the Florida Green Lodging Program Handbook states: “According to the Hospitality Research Group of PKF Consulting, a 10% reduction in energy costs is equivalent to increasing occupancy points by 1.04% and increasing average daily rates by 1.6% for a full-service hotel.”

What can I do?

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