People are slowly waking up to the horrors of environmental damage done in the course of development. Hospitality industry too has started contributing towards conservation of resources resulting in hotels and resorts putting their green foot forward. Such hotels are called “Eco Hotels/Resorts”. To acquire a certificate of an eco-hotel (LEED, ECOTEL) stringent norms & parameters have to be followed & maintained at all times but there are hotels which practice green living even without being certified. The Green Holiday destinations in India are increasing and more and more travellers are now patronizing such places in order to decrease their carbon foot prints.
With eco in the name first thing which comes to mind is “a place somewhere in the lap of nature far away from cities” but green practices are not limited to a ‘faraway place’. In India we have eco hotels in the middle of metro cities having all the luxuries but still contributing towards sustainable living.
What makes a hotel or resort green? Some basic practices like, composting to get rid of waste, gray water recycling systems, which purify and reuse laundry, bathing and dishwashing water, reuse of linens and towels, use of less power consuming devices like CFL’s, solid waste recycling, use of organic and ecofriendly toiletries, getting local produce and employing locals are a must in a green resort. Using locally sourced or indigenous building material reduces transportation costs, emissions and it’s also a more efficient way to tackle the elements. Additionally, carbon-friendly hotels may opt partly or fully for alternative energy systems like solar or wind, Installing chlorofluorocarbon-free air conditioners and rainwater harvesting systems. These efforts translate into considerably lower energy and water consumption, which means a smaller carbon footprint as well as lower operational costs. Sustainable practices in hotels and resorts often save money in the long run and the money saved by hotel comes as reduced tariff for guests. Like “The Orchid” in Mumbai, saved over Rs 33 lakh simply by switching to PL lamps or CFL.
The green concept of hotels start from the construction itself when features and equipment’s which helps in saving energy, water and reduces waste can be put. This is the “Green Building” part of the aspect. LEED “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certification confirms that the building has been made keeping green principles in mind. The second part is policies and measures put in place for sustainable practices in the green hotel building. Ecotel® certification certifies the daily practices undertaken by the staff of the hotel. Ecotel® certified hotels are those which have incorporated environmentally-friendly materials and practices.
The concept of eco friendly tourism is growing in India. Nowadays, India has eco friendly hotels to suit all interests. There are luxury tented accommodations, homestays, eco villages, and nature resorts. Not only do these places offer a refreshing approach to tourism, they’re located in some of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of India.
I have listed some of such places. However the list is not complete as new places are coming up and older ones are slowly changing their processes towards more green. If you happen to be in one such place which is not here do write to me and I will add it up. The list is divided into Eco-hotels in a city and Eco-destinations in the lap of nature. Remember, carbon consciousness doesn’t end with a lodging choice. There are many things we can do on our trip to make it more eco friendly.