My wife and I just returned from Vancouver, WA for a climate conference of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. This organization is promoting legislation to provide carbon taxes to fossil fuel producers, and pour the money back into challenged communities that can receive the “dividend” from the legislation. Specifically, CCL is working to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act; introduced in the 115th Congress with a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent in a dozen years.  I believe their solution is good for the economy, revenue neutral, and beneficial — not regressive — for more economically challenged communities.

But this article isn’t about that. It’s about finding green lodging while traveling to worthwhile conferences, or just for commercial business or a vacation.  

Unfortunately, our journey to Vancouver was not as impressive as Greta Thunberg’s trek to a climate conference in NY. Instead, we used a hybrid Toyota Prius and burned fossil fuels on the way down. The travel industry promotes big cruise ships, road travel, and planes – and sometimes, sometimes trains. And my biggest environmental sin by far is travel. I travel to visit family, for business, or for fun, burning carbon to get to my destination. So where can I stay to limit my impact on Earth?

Headed somewhere sunny? Check out our guide to people and reef safe sunscreen.

The Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, WA

The Heathman Lodge featured Western decor and lots of natural wood. Copyright Emeraldology 2020.

The good news:  The conference above was based in Vancouver, WA’s Heathman Lodge, which is decorated tastefully with Western themes. A lithograph reproduction of John Wayne is on the wall behind the check in desk, with a gun out of his holster, protecting us from… what exactly in this day and age? Hopefully not the Native Americans at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby conference, who may have more environmentally conscious ideals than the average Wild West Hollywood gunslinger. 

I like to think John Wayne is defending against outlaw settlers. I’m just not sure what movie poster Andy Warhol was looking at when he made this reproduced lithograph…

In addition, in the lobby there’s a Salish people’s totem pole elevating the raven, respectful statues and portraits of Native Americans, lots of natural wood, and charging stations for the fancy electric cars parked outside. 

The hotel management boasts that their business was a founding member of the Clark County Green Business Program; it has won a “recycler of the year award”; it is voted one of the 100 best green companies to work for; and its environmental initiatives include energy efficient fixtures and appliances, low water use in its laundry, and “100 percent post consumer materials” in its paper products. The garbage cans out front allow you to separate food waste, plastic bottles, and landfill trash.

Downstairs, the restaurant claims to compost 100% of food waste. It also serves produce from local farmers and certified humane meat or dairy options. Generally, the hotel “promotes sustainability as a lifestyle.”

Some initiatives are obvious money savers, promoting the reuse of towels reduce energy costs; but the hotel is definitely making some emerald strides here.

Notable green lodging options in Washington

All of this makes me feel a little better about hitting the road, and makes me want to write this shout-out to the Heathman Lodge… and other Washington lodgings making an effort:  

  • In Seattle, the Hyatt at Olive and 8th has a living roof right next to or in the convention center, significant water conservation efforts, and a farm to table restaurant with sustainably source foods, local craft drafts, and locally roasted Victrola Coffee.
  • If you can afford luxurious Kimpton properties like the Hotel Monaco in Seattle, they came to use environmentally-friendly cleaning products in refillable bottles. They also serve fair trade coffee, organic snacks in the minibar and emphasize organic food in the affiliated restaurant.
  • The Olympic National Park has four gorgeous lodges, with environmental efforts required of the park’s vendors outlined here. They range from locally sourced products and composting to Monterey Aquarium safe source-certified sea food and appropriate water and energy stewardship.
  • On the banks of the Cle Elum River, near Cle Elum and Ellensburg, Suncadia Resort and its parent company Destination Hotels is winning some environmental awards with its “3 Star Build Green” and LEED certified architecture. It also has significant efforts to reduce energy and water usage, and its golf course is commended by Audubon Society as more environmentally-friendly than many others.

Do you have a go-to green lodging in Washington, or elsewhere? Share it with us in the comments section!

Feature photo copyright Emeraldology 2020.