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Eight Areas of Focus for Green Certification

April 23, 2010

by Kit Cassingham

Paying attention to eight areas of operation in your bed and breakfast will allow you to green your business. And you might, with enough effort and time, be green enough to earn green certification from any number of certification programs.

For B&Bs wanting to be greener, and possibly get green certified, there are generally eight areas for innkeepers to focus. This is one article in a multi-part series on green certification.

This eight areas to focus on for green certification are also valid areas for anyone wanting to have a greener bed and breakfast operation. Different certification programs look at the eight areas in different ways. There are more categories in some, fewer in others -- but with the same issues covered, and some are just named differently. The simplest way of thinking about this is to reduce waste and the other issues just about fall into place by themselves.

Eight Areas of Focus to Green Your B&B


Here is how I have broken the areas of greening attention:

  1. chemicals
  2. energy
  3. waste
  4. buying/procurement
  5. water
  6. building
  7. food
  8. air quality

If you focus on improving your operations in these eight areas you will indeed find there's gold in green bed and breakfast innkeeping. Rethink how you approach life and the environment for a greener B&B operation, which will help attract guests looking for more green travel options.

Think of the eight areas forming to make a rainbow. The ends of the rainbow connect you to that pot of gold. The seven primary colors of the rainbow, plus white, represent the eight areas of environmental action required to be a green operation and to help you get a green certification. Here's a quick rundown on the issues.


  • Chemicals: We've gotten used to "better living through chemicals" without realizing that in many ways our lives are worse because of the chemicals we've introduced into them. Improve your life by reducing the toxic chemicals in your life and business. Often there are non-toxic approaches to the same end.

  • Energy: The various forms of energy we use today make our lives comfortable, interesting, and better in many ways. But energy consumption is a double-edged sword in that air quality has suffered, earth scars are worse, and people's lives are lost in the pursuit of energy. The answer doesn't lie totally in conservation, it also lies in finding better, non-polluting forms of energy.

  • Waste: I'm looking forward to the day that waste doesn't exist, or at least is very minimal. When materials used for packaging, products, supplies, etc. can be broken down and reused for new goods we will have reached a good point in our evolution. It saves the environment in many ways. But in the meantime, reduce what you throw in the trash.

  • Buying: Maybe this is the flip side of the waste issue. We can't avoid it, but we can sure manage it to lighten the environmental burden. Buying items of recycled materials and items that are recyclable is a good start to improving your environmental footstep.

  • Water: I think water is a bigger issue for us than climate change, but they are so closely entwined it's hard to sort them out. Water is needed for our daily life. It's also important in food production and everything we buy. Don't waste it. Don't pollute it. Treat it like gold.

  • Building: Air pollution, waste, and high energy and water consumption can be attributed to buildings that aren't designed, constructed, or maintained with care. Approach your building with an environmental eye and go a long way in caring for the environment.

  • Food: Locally grown, organic food is generally ideal. To me, fresh food -- locally grown -- is to store-bought food as home cooked food is to packaged food. Don't you want the best for yourself and your guests?

  • Air Quality: Living well relies on clean air in so many ways. Allergies, illnesses, and quality of life are effected by different kinds of air pollution. Clean it up and breathe easier.

In my PAII presentation slides I arbitrarily assigned each issue onto a rainbow color. The next eight articles will elaborate on actions and attitudes that contribute to tackling each of the issues. Follow the colors of the rainbow to learn more about how you can reach for a greener B&B and green certification.




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