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Historic Inns of Rockland, Maine Band Together as Environmental Leaders

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ROCKLAND, ME.—Quietly, yet tenaciously, the Historic Inns of Rockland, Maine are working hard to reduce their environmental impact. All three have been certified by the State of Maine as Hospitality Environmental Leaders, making them the first known B&B association in New England totally dedicated to sustainable eco-tourism. Beginning on October 3, in recognition of National Change a Lightbulb Day, the inns will offer an Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) to each guest. With each bulb, more than 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions will be saved from entering the atmosphere.

“If just 100 guests change their lightbulbs with the Energy Star bulbs they receive after staying with us, 400,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions can be eliminated,” says Cheryl Michaelsen, co-owner of the Berry Manor Inn.

“Just imagine what would happen if a thousand guests replaced just one lightbulb with ours,” added P.J.Walter of the LimeRock Inn.

The list of Historic Inns of Rockland’s environmentally-friendly practices is long, ranging from widespread use of CFLs and solar lighting to donation and recycling of old towels, clothing, shampoo and soaps to local charities. The group has collectively negotiated a contract for use of bio-fuel for heating oil, and instituted creative recycling programs for inn and guest products ranging from bottles to office products. Yet still this group has taken the green scheme beyond changing light bulbs and recycling. Beginning late fall, the inns will make a three-dollar-per-guest donation to eco-friendly local organizations as a means to offset their own carbon footprint.

“We decided to give more than lip service to sustainable tourism practices,” says Cheryl Michaelsen.

“Our members joined together to become recognized environmental leaders, and in doing so we’ve educated not only ourselves but our guests in easy ways to adopt eco-friendly travel,” added Ellen Barnes of the Captain Lindsey House.

Many Green Initiatives in Place

The following are some of the green programs in place at all three of the Historic Inns of Rockland:

• Development of guest travel packages that feature Audubon’s Puffin Exhibit, Capt. Jack’s Lobster Adventure, and several windjammer cruises as ways to learn about the marine environment and see the coast via wind power.
• Development and promotion of a “Car Pooling” package to reward guests for carpooling when staying at Historic Inns of Rockland, Maine.
• Widespread use of CFLs and LED emergency lights.
• Use of lights on dimmer switches and timers throughout guest and common areas.
• Zoned heat and group contract for bio-fuel heating oil.
• Use of storm windows and doors to improve energy efficiency.
• Recycling centers for newspapers, plastic, glass and metals; housekeepers trained to remove recyclable goods from common trash in rooms (i.e. newspapers, plastic bottles, soda cans).
• Post placards to announce waste reduction options.
• Use of Green Seal certified cleaning products.
• Purchase concentrated cleaning supplies in bulk and use refillable bottles.
• Purchase phosphate free laundry soaps in bulk and recycle plastic soap containers.
• Use of environmentally friendly packaging for guestroom amenities.
• Using open windows, window shades, and fans to provide shade and comfort to guests instead of air-conditioning.
• Use washable cups instead of disposable cups in guest bathrooms.
• Committed to using eco-friendly non-plastic cutlery made of corn starch at upcoming events.
• Purchase locally grown, organic products and in bulk where possible.
• Use and purchase of recycled paper and office products and recycling of used print cartridges.
• Use of all-natural lawn care and gardening products containing no pesticides.
• Solar path lighting installed.
• Use of non-toxic ice treatment products.

While traveling green can be easy, it’s not without its price tag. The Historic Inns of Rockland have endured some hefty initial cash outlays and seen a 10 to 15 percent increase in costs associated with switching to eco-friendly products.

“But it’s not all bad news,” says Frank Isganitis of the LimeRock Inn. “We’ve also seen a 10 to 20 percent saving in our electric bill as a result of switching to CFL bulbs, and buying concentrated Green Seal certified cleaning products has reduced the cost to just pennies per quart. We know that we need to put our money where our mouth is in order to demonstrate our pledge to sustainable tourism, so clearly it’s worth a small increase in operating expenses.”

Go to Historic Inns of Rockland.

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