Recently, Blue Dolphin Cottages - a 47-year-old, nine-unit motel on Sanibel's western end - joined a small but ever growing number of island accommodation that have received the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's official Green Lodging Designation.
That title, in the simplest of terms, means that they have taken steps to "go green." To receive and maintain designation status, basic improvement projects must be performed in the areas of communication, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste reduction and clean air practices.
Simple, right? Yes and no.
Yes, making "green" changes can be as simple as switching from standard and flourescent lightbulbs to long-lasting and energy-efficient bulbs; converting showerheads and faucets to low-flow devices; switching from older model appliances to Energy Star-rated ones.
But no, it's not quick fix. Making those changes don't typically happen overnight. And receiving approval from the DEP may take months to process.
However, when you look at the long-term benefit of the conversion, it is a "win-win" for both business and Mother Earth.
Only seven other Sanibel and Captiva accomodations have received such an accolade from the DEP, including Castaways Beach & Bay Resort, Ocean's Reach Condominium Resort (the island's first designee), Sanibel Inn, Seaside Inn, Song of the Sea, Sundial Beach & Golf Resort and Sunset Beach Resort.
And when you consider that, statewide, just 454 properties have been accepted by the DEP's Green Lodging Designation program, Sanibel's total of eight sounds pretty good. But we think our local lineup of hotels, motels, condominims, inns and cottages can do even better.
Several properties, including the Holiday Inn Beach Resort, Sanibel Arms West Condominiums, South Seas Island Resort and 'Tween Waters Inn, have already submitted their applications to the DEP for their Green Lodging Designation. We hope that other island accomodations will follow soon thereafter.
Sanibel and Captiva are known the world over as sanctuary islands noted for the preservation of nature, and our efforts to "go green" are far ahead of the curve. Let's do our best to back up that reputation.
- Reporter editorial