Area inn touts the business sense of going green


Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 22, 2007 at 11:45 p.m.

STEINHATCHEE — The Steinhatchee River Inn has gone green in nearly everything it does, from to drip irrigation for its landscaping to recycled paper products.

The hotel earned the honor Monday of bein

g the 21st Florida-certified Green Lodge for those features.

The program certifies hotels that reduce waste, improve indoor air quality and conserve water and energy.

"It's to recognize hotels for being environmentally conscious," said Karen Moore, Green Lodging program coordinator.

The inn is the second hotel in the region to receive the distinction, joining the Hilton hotel in Gainesville. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection administers the program, which was launched in March 2004.

The program started off slow and is just beginning to pick up steam, Moore said. Twenty-two additional hotels are now in the process of being certified, she said, including a Marriott planned in Gainesville that would be the first certified from its inception.

Steinhatchee River Inn owner Loretta Fowler said she thought environmentally friendly features were a good match for a place known for fishing and outdoors tourism.

"We think it all just fits in with the area," she said.

She credits the hotel managers, Baj and Wendy Rose, for implementing the features when they started there six months ago.

Baj Rose said he and his wife eat organic food and try to be environmentally conscious in their own lives.

"This was just an extension of that," he said.

The 17-room inn bans smoking in all rooms and conducts preventative maintenance on air conditioners to improve air quality. The hotel encourages guests to re-use towels and linens.

The rooms have energy-efficient light bulbs and low-flow faucets and shower heads. All paper products are recycled. Only ecologically friendly cleaning products are used.

The changes have saved the hotel 40 percent on its electric bill and 10 percent on its water bill, Baj Rose said.

"It's just little things (but) it does add up," he said.

Moore said hotels can also use the designation in their marketing efforts and certified lodges are featured on the program Web site, www.floridagreen lodging.com.

The program provides environmental as well as economic benefits, she said.

"It just makes business sense to do this," she said.

Nathan Crabbe can be reached at 352-338-3176 or crabben@ gvillesun.com.

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