Florida’s Green Lodging Program: A model green hotel certification program that continues to grow

If you’ve ever been to Florida – especially to ecologically-sensitive areas like the Everglades and the Florida Keys – you know that the state has incredible natural resources. Stunning beaches, unique and abundant wildlife, fertile land, and of course, all that gin clear water make Florida an extraordinary place to live and a fantastic place to visit.

Key Largo Reef: Florida’s green lodges are helping protect the environment and preserve scenes like this for future generations (photo courtesy Monroe County Tourism Development Council)

And boy, do people ever visit! The state’s tourism marketing agency, VISIT FLORIDA, recently estimated that over 82 million people visited Florida in 2008. Since approximately 50% of Florida’s visitors stay in hotels, the lodging industry has a major impact on the state’s sensitive environment.

That’s why Florida’s Green Lodging Program (FGLP) is so important. Established in 2004 by the state Department of Environmental Protection, FGLP has assisted and recognized hundreds of facilities for their sustainability efforts. From huge properties owned by major chains like Hilton and Hyatt, to funky island B&B’s owned by somebody’s mom and pop, designated green lodges are becoming as common in Florida as flip flops, tiki torches and margarita cocktails!

One thing that has made Florida’s Green Lodging Program so successful is the commitment to the environment demonstrated by Governor Charlie Crist. In 2007, Gov. Crist signed an executive order mandating that all state conventions and meetings be held in certified green lodging facilities whenever possible. With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Crist started a stampede of hoteliers scrambling to green up their properties and get them on the list of approved facilities. Close to 500 properties have met the program’s certification requirements, and hundreds more have filed the paperwork and are in the pipeline to receive their green designation.

We at EcoGreenHotel salute Governor Crist, the Florida Green Lodging Program and all the owners, management and staff of the state’s certified green lodges who have worked so hard to protect and preserve the Great State of Florida for the next generation of visitors to enjoy.

Do you know about a green lodging program that deserves kudos, too? Send a message to info@EcoGreenHotel.com and tell us about it. We may feature it in a future edition of our newsletter or on our web site, www.EcoGreenHotel.com!

About EcoGreenHotel
A valuable resource for green hotels, EcoGreenHotel is dedicated to helping lodging facilities address environmental issues and implement environmentally sound initiatives. The company’s online presence at www.EcoGreenHotel.com offers a marketplace for green hotel products and services and provides a one- stop venue for green hospitality industry news, basic environmental overviews and other tools like green hotel checklists, project ideas, book lists, and valuable links designed to promote a more sustainable hospitality industry.