By Mac Clevenger, Green Seal’s Marketing & Outreach Associate
This year I had the pleasure of celebrating Earth Day with (and at) one of Green Seal’s certified clients, Airlie. Airlie has been certified to the standard GS-33 Hotels and Lodging Properties since 2004. Certification to the standard GS-33 represents THE highest level of commitment to human and environmental health in the hospitality industry.
Earth Day is near and dear to both Airlie and Green Seal. After first introducing the idea for Earth Day at Airlie, Senator Gaylord Nelson selected Denis Hayes the first CEO and Chair of Green Seal – to organize the very first Earth Day in 1970. Following the success of the first Earth Day, Denis founded the Earth Day Network which eventually propelled the holiday to the international stage in 1990, organizing events in 141 nations. And now, at least according to Denis, Earth Day is “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.”
Senator Gaylord Nelson
We began our day with a ceremony revealing Airlie’s LOVEwork structure which is made out of 95% recycled materials. The LOVEworks program is a Virginia branding initiative that helps to promote family-friendly vacation experiences in Virginia and also the “Virginia is for Lovers” message. Airlie’s LOVEwork is a representation of their ongoing pledge to protecting the health of our planet.
Airlie’s LOVEwork is just a small taste of their many sustainability initiatives, however. Airlie protects human and environmental health by using nontoxic, biodegradable housekeeping products and nontoxic paints with minimal VOCs. They demonstrate stewardship by using environmentally preferable products, having developed and implemented an environmental mission and purchasing policy. Airlie manages their fresh water resources by using water-efficient landscaping and grounds keeping measures as well as installing water-saving fixtures. They practice energy efficiency and conservation by using energy-efficient appliances and windows in addition to installing energy-efficient lighting. And Airlie minimizes waste through recycling and composting programs while minimizing the use of disposable items. These practices happen to be just a few of the many requirements that Airlie fulfills in order to be Green Seal certified.
But Airlie goes even beyond their GS-33 certification. Airlie features a 360-degree view LEED certified Pavilion which utilizes geothermal heating and cooling.
Airlie sources more than 90% of their food locally and utilizes their Local Food Project (a four-acre culinary garden on Airlie’s grounds) for ingredients in Airlie’s kitchen. Bicycles are provided for Airlie’s guests and Airlie staff even use hybrid vehicles and 100% electric vehicles in their daily operations. Upon arriving at Airlie, I noticed Airlie’s PEP (plug-in electric power) station that provides complimentary electric vehicle charging in the main parking lot at Airlie House.
And they even have preferred parking available for fuel-efficient vehicles.
Earth Day is a time to come together with those who share a commitment to the natural world in order to celebrate and cherish our planet. We are the stewards of our world and it is up to us to keep it healthy for all future beings on Earth. Green Seal is proud of our long-standing partnership with Airlie and we look forward to continuing to work together protecting human and environmental health.
p.s. While on a tour of the Airlie House (pictured above), I happened to notice a familiar brand and certification mark….