Thursday, February 4, 2010

Smoking and Green Certification Programs

I have always kind of wondered how a hotel could be considered "green" and even be certified as such, but still allow smoking in some guestrooms and, in some cases, public areas. There is an incredible amount of evidence that links first-, second-, and third-hand smoke to cancer. In an attempt to get a handle on just exactly where the various green certification organizations stand in regard to smoking, I have begun to survey them. Whether by e-mail or through phone interviews, I am attempting to contact representatives of the most prominent national, state and city level green lodging certification programs. Look for an article and column soon on Green Lodging News that details the results of my survey.

What do you think? Should the fact that a property allows smoking be a deal breaker when it comes to certification? Or, should it be just one other factor that is considered by a certifying organization--at the same level as, say, a low-flow toilet?

Preliminary results of my survey show that certification programs are very inconsistent when it comes to smoking. One president of a certification program indicated that until I brought up the topic, he had never even thought about including a smoking-related question in his certification application. A representative of the most prominent green building certification program in the country told me that yes, one's hotel can be certified even if it allows smoking in guestrooms. Wow.

If your property is green certified but still allows smoking, I would like to know why you believe there is nothing ironic about that. My e-mail:

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