By: Shayne Benowitz
In Miami—and around the world—hotels and new building projects are taking the initiative to lower their carbon footprint through conservation and protection of natural resources. With Miami’s unique and delicate ecosystem, stretching from the Everglades to the Florida Straits, residents take environmental preservation seriously here.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is committed to being the most “progressive, pragmatic city” in response to sea level rise. Locals volunteer their time to preserve our beaches’ sand dunes. From opting to use the CitiBikes bicycle sharing program to supporting local restaurants committed to serving sustainable seafood and locally sourced fruits and vegetables, there are many ways to make a positive impact on the environment.
LEED Certification & Florida Green Lodging
You can also make the decision to book a room in an environmentally conscious hotel. The good news is, there are many to choose from in Miami at all price points. From LEED certified projects to the Florida Green Lodging Program created by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, travelers are equipped with resources when it comes to finding a green hotel.
Florida Green Lodging rates properties in five areas of sustainable practices: Communication & Education; Waste Reduction, Reuse & Recycling; Water Conservation; Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality. LEED is the international benchmark in energy efficient building, design and construction set by the US Green Building Council.
In fact, many major hotel brands in Miami are members of Florida Green Lodging, including the Best Western, Courtyard by Marriott, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton, Hyatt, JW Marriott, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton and Westin. And many of them are also LEED certified.
1 Hotel South Beach is a new luxury lifestyle hotel group celebrating nature with an eco-driven mission. “We’ve launched a cause, not a brand,” said CEO Barry Sternlicht of his Silver LEED certified project during opening day festivities. “We’re as much about what you see as what you’re not going to see in our hotels,” he said, referring to the fact that there are no paper or plastic products in guest rooms. Instead you’ll find, Triple Clear Water filters in all taps to replace plastic bottles, a chic little chalkboard as opposed to paper and pen and a 1 Hotels Field Guide app in place of brochures.
The hotel has made use of abundant reclaimed wood throughout its interior design. And if you need to get around in style, while still being green, 1 Hotel has a small fleet of white electric Teslas available to its guests free of charge on a first come first served basis.
Another newly opened luxury hotel, the Miami Beach Edition, is also LEED certified. A collaboration between Marriott International and Ian Schrager, the EDITION has already become one of the hottest property’s on the beach with a restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Basement nightclub with its adjacent ice skating rink and four-lane bowling alley.
Florida Green Lodging luxury hotels include the Epic Hotel, The Biltmore Hotel Miami, JW Marriott Marquis, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, Mandarin Oriental and St. Regis Bal Harbour.
Courtyard by Marriott is a global brand leading the charge in LEED certified hotels and the Courtyard Cadillac Marriott was the very first to gain this certification in Miami Beach after its 2014 renovation. Boasting a brand new tower with guest rooms reflecting Miami Beach’s modern, easy-breezy aesthetic and two pools—it’s not your average Marriott.
The Palms Hotel & Spa is a classic eco-conscious hotel in Miami and a member of Florida Green Lodging. Sustainability is reflected here through its Essensia restaurant helmed by Chef Julie Frans who keeps an onsite garden and works with local purveyors for her organic farm-to-table fare. The hotel exudes Old Florida charm with a lovely pool and lush outdoor lawn.
Other mid-range hotels certified by Florida Green Lodging include The Raleigh, Shore Club, The Standard and Sonesta Coconut Grove.
Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Brickell Downtown was actually the first LEED certified hotel in Miami. Located in the heart of Brickell with popular Batch Gastropub at ground level, the hotel offers sweeping views of Miami’s skyline while keeping prices and its carbon footprint down.
There’s also a slew of lower cost Art Deco hotels in the heart of South Beach that are all Florida Green Lodging certified including Carlton Hotel, Casanova Suites, Clifton Hotel, Hilton Grand Vacation Suites, Lords and Majestic.
With so many hotel options to choose from, being green has never been easier. For more information on LEED certified hotel projects, visit http://www.usgbc.org and for Florida Green Lodging information, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging/about.htm.
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