|Maine’s Environmental Leader certification for lodging businesses is managed by the Pollution Prevention Program within the Office of Innovation at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP). The program has certified 64 lodging businesses since it began in November of 2005.
The point-based system developed by Maine’s Pollution Prevention (P2) Program uses a self certification workbook that businesses can use to guide them through the certification process. The P2 Program provides on-site technical assistance for all businesses that specifically request it and performs 12 random verification audits per year to assess point total accuracy.
Businesses that score at least 100 points qualify for the automatic certification from the state for two years. In two years, they need to increase the point total to 130 to be eligible for a free re-certification. Businesses do not need to have 100 initial points to begin participation within the program. Technical assistance visits and recommendations from ME DEP’s P2 Program Manager help businesses achieve more points. If a business scores less than 100 points, that business is eligible for a “provisional” certification that includes all the benefits of a fully certified business provided they obtain the remainder of the points within a three month grace period.
The P2 Program awards businesses that have achieved the necessary point total with a certificate, decals, and a desk top flag. A full size flag (2 feet x 3 feet) is available for purchase for lodging businesses that have been certified. Certified businesses are also included in a brochure that is distributed to all of the Maine visitors’ centers.
For the 64 participating businesses, some of the cumulative estimated yearly reductions include:
-1,371,315 gallons of water conserved through low flow water fixtures and towel and/or linen re-use programs
-1,876 gallons of bleach avoided
-15,293 pounds of detergent avoided
-2,713,283 kilowatts reduced through installation of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)
-$271,328 in electricity saved through use of CFLs
-3,935,223 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions reduced through use of CFLs
-294,869 pounds of food waste composted
-95,706 pounds of solid waste recycled
The use of 249,222 bottles was reduced by installing refillable amenity dispensers at 22 businesses (representing 569 rooms), eliminating 14,943 pounds of plastic (estimated by assuming 2 bottles per room).
39 businesses representing 1,435 rooms have switched to using environmentally preferable cleaning chemicals.
21 businesses are now using 172 gallons of low VOC paint, which eliminated 358 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted to the air.
Other initiatives being conducted under the certification program include:
-13 new refrigerators installed, saving 520,000 kilowatts (kWh) and over $52,000 per year
-2 businesses installed solar thermal systems for hot water
-11 businesses installed timers and/or motion sensors to reduce electrical usage
-3 businesses installed vending misers
-1 business installed 36 digital thermostats
-4 businesses installed new low energy windows
-1 business uses bio fuel and encourages customers to offset travel emissions by purchasing Carbon Fund renewable energy credits
-1 business organized a “change a light” campaign by giving CFLs to all guests (over 700)
-1 business reduced 36 yards of monthly waste to 4 yards of waste generated per month saving $1,000
-2 businesses established green meeting policies
-1 business started purchasing zero emission Maine green electricity
-351 guests reported that they chose the lodging business because of its certification, including 2 conferences and 2 weddings; 492 guests commented on the certification
-Some businesses have partnered with non-profit organizations
In November of 2006, Maine began certifying restaurants with the same kind of program. To date, there are 13 restaurants certified with metrics available through Maine’s P2 Program.