With more and more Americans looking to go “green” when they travel, a number of Web sites have begun to offer eco-friendly travel options. In a partnership announced April 15, Orbitz—a leading online travel company—has aligned with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program to give travelers the option of choosing Energy Star labeled hotels when they book with Orbitz.
As an Orbitz “micro-site” that was launched in April 2007, www.eco.orbitz.com provides eco-friendly options and guidance to help individuals make informed decisions and reduce their environmental footprint when traveling. Now, in addition to renting hybrid vehicles, purchasing carbon offsets, or participating in environmental volunteer opportunities, travelers can identify and book hotels that have earned the Energy Star—indicating that these properties have achieved superior energy performance.
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Assn., travelers in the United States spent more than $133 billion on lodging in 2006. By recognizing Energy Star properties, Orbitz is empowering its users to make these purchases in a more environmentally responsible manner.
Easier to Travel Responsibly
“Increasing awareness of Energy Star helps consumers make Earth-friendly decisions,” said Bob Meyers, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The ability to search for Energy Star qualified hotels makes it even easier for travelers to save energy and protect the environment.”
Energy efficiency is the single most effective approach a hotel can take in order to reduce its carbon footprint and combat climate change. Buildings that have earned the Energy Star use nearly 40 percent less energy than average buildings and emit 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, offering a significantly smaller impact on the environment. By instituting strategic energy management programs, hoteliers can realize energy cost savings that flow directly to the bottom line—all while enhancing the guest experience by improving comfort and reliability, and by demonstrating climate stewardship. Hotels looking to go “green” and attract environmentally conscious guests are advised to target energy efficiency as the foundation of their eco-friendly platform.
Energy Star is a government-backed program helping businesses, organizations and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Americans, with the help of Energy Star, saved enough energy in 2007 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million cars—all while saving $16 billion on their utility bills. EPA’s Energy Star Partnership offers a proven energy management strategy that helps to measure current energy performance, set goals, track savings, and reward improvements. For more information, see www.energystar.gov.
Anna Stark is the Program Manager for Commercial Property Markets, Energy Star, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.