Which hotel chain has the smallest carbon footprint?

If you want to shrink your carbon footprint when you check into a hotel, you may be better off staying at a mid-range or budget chain hotel.

That’s the conclusion from a report released last week by Vermont-based Brighter Planet, the eco-minded tech firm that creates digital apps and other technology to measure environmental impacts. The report said the nation’s hotels use 4% of all commercial building energy per year and generate 34.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The most energy- and carbon-efficient hotel chain in the U.S., according to Brighter Planet, is Vagabond Inn, followed by Red Lion Hotels, both mid-range national hotel chains. Red Carpet Inns, a budget hotel chain, came in third.

The upscale JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts came in last out of 75 chains analyzed by Brighter Planet.


The ranking was based on a few considerations, including the age of the hotels and the amenities offered. The location of the hotels was also considered because power companies in some parts of the country, such as California, use more renewable energy.

Such details as the size of a hotel room, in-room refrigerators and swimming pools also affect how much energy a hotel uses, said Robbie Adler, director of business development for Brighter Planet.

The idea behind the study, he said, was to push hotels and travel websites to provide travelers with energy-efficiency information and pollution data for each hotel.

“There is no reason why they can’t provide you that information,” Adler said. “There is a difference between hotels.”


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