Happy Trails: Florida Lodgings Get Green

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The latest recipient of Florida's Green Lodging Program accreditation: Big Pine Key's Deer Run Bed & Breakfast, which provides organic vegetarian meals and buys fair-trade products and locally grown produce. The voluntary state initiative encourages and assists the lodging industry to adopt cost-saving green practices, while establishing environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and slash pollution.

Now one of the 43 hotels endorsed by Green Lodges, Deer Run has reduced energy consumption with energy-efficient appliances, compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar garden lighting, and on-demand water heating. Besides installing low-flow showerheads with soap-up valves and low-flow faucets, as well as landscaping with less-thirsty native plants, the four-room bed-and-breakfast—which derives its name from the endangered Key deer that frequent its grounds—also stocks recycled paper products, composts food and yard waste, and uses eco-friendly cleaners.

To spur the hospitality industry to think "green," in all interpretations of the word, Governor Charles Crist signed in July an executive order that requires state agencies and departments to conduct meetings and conferences only at hotels with the Green Lodging designation, starting January 1, 2008, "whenever possible." Nice little escape clause there. ::Environmental News Service

Tags: Biodiversity | Conservation | Florida

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