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Properties around the world are stepping up to protect the planet — and seeking green certifications to honor their efforts. What, exactly, do those certifications mean, and what are some hotels that qualify? Turn the page for a cheat sheet that explains all you need to know to travel with an eco-clear conscience.


Eco-spotlight on …
NYLO Hotels

A new boutique hotel brand with properties in Warwick, R.I., and Plano and Las Colinas, Texas, NYLO’s goal is to build hotels that are upscale and eco-friendly. Patrick O’Neil , executive vice president of operations for NYLO Hotels (from $89, www.nylohotels.com), dishes on what it takes to be a green hotel.

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What makes NYLO hotels eco-friendly?
We have looked for ways to incorporate green practices into all aspects of our properties. The hotels use green cleaning products, participate in towel and linen reuse programs, use products made from recycled materials — even our key cards and some of our hotel uniforms are made from recycled plastic — and have facilitywide recycling programs.

Do the NYLO hotels have any green certifications?
Our hotels are EnergyStar certified. We’re in the process of looking into other green certifications.

What green initiatives are planned for the future?
Right now, none of our hotels are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. This is one of the areas we’re focusing on for the future. We want to do everything we can to be as green as possible.

CERT-IFICATION LEED Green Globe International Green Seal Green Key Global
DETAILS LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is awarded to properties that meet certain criteria for green design and construction. Hotels earn points for eco-friendly features like energy efficiency and green materials. www.usgbc.org This is the only global certification for green hotels. One of the areas included in certification is corporate social responsibility. www.greenglobeint.com Hotels must meet standards in areas like waste reduction and use of environmentally safe products. The nonprofit awards three levels of certification — gold, silver and bronze. www.greenseal.org Launched in September 2009, this is the newest green certification in the U.S. Properties are awarded one to five Green Keys for green hotel operations, including water conservation and waste management. www.greenkeyglobal.com
HOW IT’S AWARDED Hotels must meet criteria in areas like waste reduction and use of green products. The nonprofit awards four levels of certification — platinum, gold, silver and certified. Auditors perform on-site inspections. Hotels are recertified on an annual basis. Hotels undergo an initial evaluation and annual monitoring. Ratings are determined based on an online questionnaire; just 20 percent of hotels participate in on-site inspections.
PROUD MEMBERS The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte is the first Ritz hotel to be built to LEED gold standards. Even the spa is ecofriendly. $489, (704) 547-2244, www.ritzcarlton.com The Lodge at Chaa Creek, a 365- acre eco resort in Belize, practices sustainability in a luxury setting. $195, (877) 709-8708, www.chaacreek.com Green initiatives like energy efficiency and conservation, management of fresh water resources and waste water, and the reduction and handling of hazardous substances all helped Hotel Monaco in Portland, Ore., earn the Green Seal Silver certification. $139, (503) 222-0001, www.monacoportland.com Located in the heart of Banff National Park in Canada, the Fairmont Banff Spring honors its natural surroundings with green programs. $299, (403) 762-2211, www.fairmont.com


In addition to being green — wind power as an energy source, room lights that go on and off automatically — the hotel also boasts staff uniforms designed by Project Runway finalist Daniel Vosovic (as do the other two locations), and a quirky decor that’s become synonymous with NYLO, including hanging pod chairs, glass antler-shaped chandeliers and polished concrete floors.

It’s the state’s first hotel to run completely on 100 percent renewable energy, and last year it was awarded Green Hospitality Certification from Rhode Island’s Department of Environmental Management.

This location is the largest (200 rooms) and newest of NYLO’s three hotels. For this property, NYLO partnered with TXU Energy to become a 100 percent Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) hotel.
— Anna Fialho