EcoStay program helps hotels tackle climate change

EcoStay is a no-cost program that supports hotels across North America in their effort to tackle climate change. The program measures hotel-related GHG emissions and supports emission-reducing carbon offset projects across Canada. What’s the catch?

The program asks that participating hotels charge guests an optional “eco-fee” to help offset emissions. A portion of the funds acquired through fee collection are given back to the hotel to fund sustainable corporate initiatives, while the remainder is used by EcoStay to support hotels and carbon offset projects.

How can your hotel benefit from the program?

According to the program’s site, hotels that partner with EcoStay benefit greatly by being able to offer clients green meetings and events; obtaining free marketing materials to communicate green actions to guests and attract more business; improving their Green Key Rating; and offsetting carbon emissions.

Which hotels have signed up so far? Quite a few! Participating hotels include a number of well-known names throughout the industry including Best Western, Days Inn, and Super 8 Motel. While it may be hard to believe that guests are willing to pay extra for greener lodging, such has been the case for many participants of the program, like The Delta Chelsea, at which 97% of hotel guests chose to pay a small fee to offset carbon emissions.

In accordance with the program, the hotel retained 12.5% of EcoStay fees in order to fund green initiatives, while the remainder of the fees were handed back to EcoStay and put towards a carbon footprint assessment, marketing materials that will promote green activity at the hotel, and funding  for carbon offset projects across Canada. The hotel accumulated over $25,000 over the course of one year which allowed them to make energy-efficient changes to older lighting units, begin the creation of an herb garden which will cut down on fleet emissions, and create a bike-friendly work zone. As of April 30th, 2010, the hotel had already offset 2,897 tonnes of emissions.

Offsetting emissions: Where does the money go?

EcoStay suggests that the remainder of the money acquired via “eco-fees” goes to investing in carbon offset programs throughout the country. What kind of projects are we talking about? All types actually, including initiatives that tackle waste and food composting, fuel efficiency, and wind energy.

Follow the link to see the full list of projects being funded through EcoStay.

Questions or comments about EcoStay? As a hotel operator, would you participate in this type of program?

image credit: Sesante