Green Key Eco-Rating Program

Green Key, the Eco-Rating program from the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC). Green Key rates hotels on their environmental sustainability and recognizes them as destinations of choice for eco-conscious travellers.

The Hotel Association of Canada's (HAC) Green Key Eco-Rating Program is a graduated rating system designed to recognize hotels, motels, and resorts that are committed to improving their fiscal and environmental performance.

Based on the results of a comprehensive environmental audit, hoteliers are awarded a 1-5 Green Key rating and given guidance on how to "unlock" opportunities to reduce operating costs and environmental impacts through reduced utility consumption, employee training, and supply chain management.

The HAC Green Key Eco-Rating Program is unique in that it is administered entirely on-line. Once a hotel has registered online for the program, they are granted instant access to the audit as well as to the tools and resources in the Members’ Only area.

The audit itself consists of “multiple choice” – style questions divided into the following 5 sections:

• Corporate Environmental Management
• Housekeeping
• Food and Beverage Operations
• Conference and Meeting Facilities
• Engineering

The approximately 140 questions that make up the entire audit relate to the following nine areas of sustainable hotel operations:

• Energy conservation
• Water conservation
• Solid waste management
• Hazardous waste management
• Indoor air quality
• Community outreach
• Building infrastructure
• Land use
• Environmental management

Each question has been designated a specific numeric value based on the environmental and social impacts of a particular action and its associated impact on guests, employees, management, and the local community.

The audit also takes limited-service hotels into consideration – in situations where a lodging property does not offer either Food and Beverage Services and/or Conference and Meeting Facilities, the hotelier is given the option to indicate that this is not applicable to their operation prior to beginning the audit. The audit is designed to take this into account when tallying their rating and their final score is not affected.

Hoteliers are encouraged to take their time completing the audit and to involve others in the process. For example, a GM may want to have the executive housekeeper complete the housekeeping section and the head of maintenance complete the Engineering section, etc.

Once all sections of the audit are complete, they simply hit “submit” and within minutes the system generates the hotel’s Green Key Rating and sends them a congratulatory email.

From here, the Hotel Association of Canada generates a property-specific written report highlighting their accomplishments and making recommendations for improvements. A plaque highlighting the hotel’s rating accompanies the final report.

It is important to note that the Green Key Eco-Rating Program is a voluntary, self-administered audit designed to assist a hotel in determining its current environmental footprint. How a hotel chooses to use the information and recommendations presented in their post-audit report is left to their discretion. The Hotel Association of Canada is not, at this time, performing regular on-site audits to verify a hotel’s rating but anticipates having a system of inspectors in place within the next year or so. In the meantime, program participants are informed, at the time of registration, of the potential for a spot-audit if the association deems it necessary.

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