AUGUSTA, MAINE—Two Maine lodging businesses have been recognized by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for voluntary efforts in reducing their impact on the environment. The Nestlewood Inn Bed & Breakfast in Carrabassett Valley and the Sheepscot Harbour Village & Resort in Edgecomb were both certified recently by the department as an Environmental Leader.
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 117 certified, can earn points for practices such as using biodegradable cleaning supplies; placing recycling bins in guestrooms and common areas; providing refillable amenity dispensers rather than individual containers for shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion in guestrooms; using water conserving faucets and showerheads; and educating patrons about the facility’s green initiatives.
Progress Reviewed by DEP
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 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.
The green practices of the Nestlewood Inn Bed & Breakfast, a seven-room log cabin B&B that caters to outdoor enthusiasts recreating in the western Maine mountains, include posting an environmental policy for visitors; composting to reduce solid waste; and using efficient lighting, appliances and water fixtures to help reduce energy and water use and save money.
The Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel in Carrabassett Valley is also certified as an Environmental Leader by the department, as are the Maine Huts & Trails huts at Flagstaff Lake, Grand Falls and Poplar Stream.
Sheepscot Harbour Village & Resort Initiatives
The Sheepscot Harbour Village & Resort uses biodegradable cleaners and detergents and energy efficient lighting on timers and educates guests about their environmental ethos through a published policy and follow-up email surveys to guests soliciting feedback on the resort’s environmental performance. The property has also landscaped with a vegetative buffer of native plants and trees to protect the Sheepscot River.
The Sheepscot Harbour Village & Resort is the first lodging Environmental Leader in Edgecomb, though nearby Boothbay Harbor has two—the Spruce Point Inn and the Flagship Inn—and Boothbay has the Boothbay Resort.
“Our guests are welcomed by Maine’s beautiful natural resources,” explained Sheepscot Harbour Village & Resort owner Audrey Miller. “It is important for our business success to protect and preserve our environment. As a certified Maine Environmental Leader in hospitality, we have taken the initiative to show that our values are consistent with our guests’ values and encourage everyone to join us. We appreciate the Maine DEP’s support in this voluntary partnership.”
Significant Savings by Maine Properties
Since the creation of the program in 2006, lodging leaders have saved more than $1 million from electricity reduction initiatives; more than 19 million gallons of water through installing low flow water fixtures and/or implementing towel and linen reuse programs; and eliminated nearly 300,000 plastic bottles by installing refillable amenity dispensers.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 791-8101.