Maine DEP Certifies Lodging Environmental Leaders

March 11, 2011

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov/ 287-5842 (office) or 592-0427 (cell)

-Fireside Inn & Suites in Waterville, SeaCat’s Rest Oceanside Suite in Lamoine and two of Maine Huts and Trails huts in western Maine’s mountains are recognized for their voluntary efforts to reduce the impact their businesses have on the environment-

AUGUSTA - Four Maine hospitality businesses have been recognized by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for their proactive efforts to reduce the impact they have on the environment.

Fireside Inn & Suites in Waterville, SeaCat’s Rest Oceanside Suite in Lamoine and the Flagstaff Lake Hut and the Grand Falls Hut of Maine Huts & Trails in the Carrabassett Valley area of Maine’s western mountains recently were certified by the department as Environmental Leaders in hospitality.

The Environmental Leader program is a self-guided process offered by Maine DEP as part of its Pollution Prevention program that encourages lodging facilities, restaurants and grocers to implement selected initiatives from those offered in the department developed workbook to achieve points toward certification. Points can be earned for practices such as adopting and posting an environmental policy, serving local food, using non-toxic chemicals for landscaping, installing energy-efficient equipment, creating a company environmental task force and educating patrons about the facility’s green initiatives.

Businesses submit their completed workbook to DEP for review and certification approval, and must increase their point total to be recertified after two years.

As businesses work through the process, staff from the department’s Office of Innovation and Assistance provide free technical assistance to help participants implement sustainable practices, save money and reduce their environmental impact, regardless of whether they end up obtaining certification.

Since it was launched in 2006, more than 150 businesses have been certified by the program and DEP estimates that lodging leaders alone have saved more than 19 million gallons of water through installing low flow water fixtures and/or implementing towel and linen re-use programs and prevented more than 15 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions through lighting with CFLs.

Peter Cooke, Pollution Prevention Manager at Maine DEP, says by going green, businesses save green. “Analysis shows it is a win-win as participants cut costs by becoming more environmentally friendly. A dramatic indicator is reduced electricity demand through adoption of energy efficiency measures. On average, participating lodgings saved 108,258 kilowatt hours of power in 2010 and cut their energy bills by $10,876,” he explained.

In addition to considerable cost savings, businesses are also incentivized to participate by recognition within marketing materials by state tourism and industry associations and by research that shows environmental designations are attractive to customers.

As a result, Maine’s Environmental Leader’s approach and accomplishments have been recognized with a major US Environmental Protection Agency grant and at last count, six other states have modeled their own programs on it.

“We want to help Maine businesses with their efforts to adopt environmentally sustainable practices while saving money and enhancing their marketability. This program gives us that opportunity, and more importantly, it gives businesses the clear and realistic steps they can take to be successful,” said Roy Krout, an Environmental Specialist with Maine DEP.

The Fireside Inn & Suites green practices include implementation of an environmental policy and the use of environmentally preferred products and water conserving fixtures, composts as part of waste management, energy efficient lighting and controls and measurement of their use of energy and resources.

Seacat’s Rest Oceanside Suite has adopted green practices including an environmental policy, waste recycling and composting, green landscaping, linen management, use of water conservation fixtures and improved energy efficient fixtures and windows. They also have a solar hot water system.

Flagstaff Lake Hut and Grand Falls Hut join the previously certified Poplar Stream Hut owned by Maine Huts & Trails to make all three of their overnight facilities Environmental Leaders. The huts are energy efficient structures designed to fit harmoniously into their surroundings. Both huts have adopted environmental policies, received employee commitment letters for proactive environmental stewardship and use environmentally preferable products, recycling and waste management procedures, refillable amenity dispensers with green certified products, energy efficient lighting and solar electricity panels. Maine Huts & Trails also plans to install solar hot water systems in all three huts this spring.

For more information about the Environmental Leader Certification program and a complete list of participants, go to http://www.maine.gov/dep/innovation/greencert/ or contact Peter Cooke at peter.cooke@maine.gov or (207) 791-8101.

For more information about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/

-END-