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When most people think about staying in a nice hotel, eco-friendly doesn’t exactly come to mind.  Think about all the people taking hot showers, running the air conditioning in their rooms, and watching TV, not to mention washing all the towels and bedding.  It’s mind boggling to think about how much energy is being used.  But, believe it or not, there are hotels that not only care about offering comfortable amenities and convenience to their guests, but care about our planet as well.

In Greensboro, NC you’ll find the Proximity Hotel.  This is the first hotel in the United States to be given the top rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS).  The building uses 100 solar panels, using 40% less energy than other hotels.  They also use 30% less water.  Guest rooms allow for a great deal of natural sunlight and even the elevator returns its own energy back to the electrical grid.  This is a great way to enjoy choice amenities while keeping the planet in mind.

The Bardessono is in Yountville, CA and also enjoys platinum status from LEEDS.  When the building was being constructed, they began by using reclaimed wood and stone that was salvaged from the area.  Over 900 solar panels and an underground geo-thermal system provide energy to the hotel.  Their restaurant uses organic, locally grown food that is farm fresh.  If you’re looking for a high-end, eco-friendly hotel experience in California’s wine country, this could be the place for you.

Here in my neck of the woods, the Hotel Allegro is in the heart of Chicago’s theatre district.  This hotel is “Green Seal” certified and uses green products.  You’ll find organic dining in their upscale restaurant and they offer rewards to guests who drive hybrid vehicles.  Also at Hotel Allegro, they emphasize green meetings for their business travelers by using recyclable paper, soy based ink, and energy efficient lighting.

Looking for a more “rustic” experience?  You might consider the Zion Lodge in Utah.  Located in Zion National Park, the lodge serves organic, locally grown food, engages in composting and all of their beer is served on tap (no waste from bottles).  100% of the electricity at Zion Lodge comes from wind power.  Here, you’ll find filtered water, bamboo floors (in some of the suites), biodegradable soaps and organic linens.

Let’s face it.  While pitching a tent and bringing your own bedding and food seems like the most eco-friendly option, not everybody is cut out for that type of vacation.  You also have to account for weather conditions and the emissions from the vehicle you’re driving to get to the camp ground.

If a hotel stay is more your style but you want to have a clear (and green) conscience, these are some great choices.  As more and more hotels are adopting eco-friendly practices, more and more travelers will be able to enjoy style without worrying about their carbon footprints.

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