Maine DEP Certifies Environmental Leaders In Lodging

June 21, 2011

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson/Director of Education & Outreach samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov/207-287-5842

-With the certification of the Mira Monte Inn, Bar Harbor now ties Ogunquit for the Maine town with the most department-certified lodging Environmental Leaders-

AUGUSTA - Three Maine lodging businesses have been recognized by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for voluntary efforts in reducing their impact on the environment.

Mira Monte Inn in Bar Harbor, The Harbour Cottage Inn in Southwest Harbor and The Pride Motel and Cottages in Scarborough were recently certified by the department as Environmental Leaders.

The Environmental Leader program is a self-guided process offered by the department that encourages lodging facilities, restaurants and grocers to implement selected initiatives from those offered in the department developed workbook to achieve points towards certification.

Lodging businesses, of which there are now 115 certified, can earn points for practices such as using biodegradable cleaning supplies; placing recycling bins in guest rooms and common areas; providing refillable amenity dispensers rather than individual containers for shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion in guest rooms; using water conserving faucets and showerheads; 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 lodging leaders work through the process, staff from the department’s Office of Innovation and Assistance provide free technical assistance to help participants implement sustainable practices that save money and reduce environmental impact, regardless of whether a business ends up obtaining certification.

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.

“Participating in the Maine DEP Environmental Leader program is consistent with the long held ethic of our business. Our customers are also interested in our green practices and we are very happy to have our certification to show them,” said Marian Burns, innkeeper of the Mira Monte.

The Mira Monte Inn in Bar Harbor has green practices including using environmentally preferable cleaners, local food, energy-efficient lighting and windows, solar hot water system and native species for landscaping; allowing guests to request less frequent towel and linen changes to conserve energy use and detergent; and composing of kitchen waste.

Mira Monte Inn is the seventh hotel/inn in Bar Harbor to be certified, as that town joins Ogunquit as the Maine municipality with the most Environmental Leaders in lodging. Camden meanwhile has six.

The Harbour Cottage Inn in Southwest Harbor has implemented an environmental policy that includes using biodegradable and environmentally friendly products as well as efficient lighting, appliances and lighting controls to help reduce energy use and save money. The inn also uses water conserving fixtures and provides towel and sheet conservation options for guests and recycling as part of reducing waste materials.

The Pride Motel and Cottages in Scarborough employs green landscaping with native species, application of organic fertilizers, conservation of water by not using a sprinkler system and creation of their own compost including kitchen waste, grass clippings and fall clean-up. They have also adopted an environmental policy including creating an employee environmental team.

"We are so pleased with the strong interest and commitment from Maine's hospitality sector to participate in the Environmental Leader program and voluntarily reduce their impact on the environment,” said Maine DEP Acting Commissioner Pattie Aho. “When vacationing in Maine, there are now more options than ever for vacationers to choose a business that values the natural resources of our state as much as they do, and as much as all of us at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection do.”

Since the creation of the program in 2006, lodging leaders have saved more than $1 million from electricity reduction initiative; more than 19 million gallons of water through installing low flow water fixtures and/or implementing towel and linen re-use programs; and eliminated nearly 300,000 plastic bottles by installing refillable amenity dispenser.

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.

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