Hotel offers guests green option

Environmentalists staying at the Best Western Rimstone Ridge Hotel in Rimbey can rest easy.

Environmentalists staying at the Best Western Rimstone Ridge Hotel in Rimbey can rest easy.

The 60-suite hotel has joined a national program that seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of the hospitality industry, including through the purchase of carbon offsets to counter the environmental impact of guests staying at hotels.

Specifically, anyone booking a room at the Rimstone Ridge now has the option of paying an additional $2 per night to support emission-reducing projects in Alberta — such as renewable energy and transportation efficiency initiatives.

“The guest’s contribution completely offsets the impact of their stay and more,” said a release issued by the EcoStay Program and Rimstone Ridge.

Karen Conover, the hotel’s general manager, said payment of the $2 fee is optional. But she anticipates a high participation rate, noting that the majority of visitors to Rimstone Ridge are concerned about the environmental impact of their accommodations.

Just raising the issue with guests should have a positive and lasting impact, added Conover.

“I see it as an excellent educating tool.”

In addition to participating in carbon offset purchases, hotels in the EcoStay Program undergo an environmental audit and learn ways to lessen their carbon footprint.

In the case of Rimstone Ridge, a number of energy-efficient and environmental features were incorporated into the hotel when it was built three years ago, said Conover. These include insulation with a high R-value, appliances and an HVAC system that are very efficient, and water-saver shower heads. The hotel is also putting timers on lights in public areas, and favours china, glass and silverware over disposable products.

“We’ve tried to eliminate the small garbage in terms of the packaging and that as much as we can,” said Conover, adding that guests are also encouraged to re-use their towels and linen.

According to EcoStay, a typical 150-room hotel in Canada can produce three tonnes of greenhouse gases a day. That’s the equivalent of 200 cars or 100 homes.

Although no other Central Alberta hotels are currently listed on EcoStay’s website, Conover expects others to come on board.

“A lot of people are becoming more conscientious about their travel methods.”

Carbon offsets purchased through the EcoStay Program are applied to projects registered on the Canadian Standards Association’s GHG CleanProjects Registry.

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