The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

State & National News

July 8, 2014

NC GreenTravel program reaches three-digit milestone

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — The following release is from NCDENR:


RALEIGH – A state environmental program recently recognized North Carolina’s 100th tourism business for its use of sustainable practices that save energy and protect the environment.    


The NC GreenTravel Initiative now boasts 100 sustainable tourism-oriented businesses with the recent addition of the Uptown Greenville Umbrella Market, a farmer’s market in the Pitt County town that features locally-grown food and uses a refurbished trolley to shuttle people for free to the market from outlying areas in eastern North Carolina.


“On top of being a gorgeous place to live and visit, North Carolina is ideal for those who want to travel green,” said John Skvarla, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“The NC GreenTravel Initiative has made people more aware of sustainable, travel-oriented businesses that make sound investments in sustainability. These businesses are a vital part of our efforts to protect the environment and encourage economic growth.”


NC GreenTravel started in October 2011 to promote sustainable travel. Tourism-focused businesses, including hotels and state parks, apply and are selected for the program by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Center for Sustainability at East Carolina University, N.C. Department of Commerce and the Waste Reduction Partners. Applicants are selected based on a grading system in which they earn points for different environmentally-friendly practices they use to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, recycle and help protect the environment.


Research has shown that sustainable businesses protect the environment and reduce operating costs and are more profitable without sacrificing guests’ comfort. NC GreenTravel businesses receive a certificate of recognition, a door decal and a listing on the NC GreenTravel website: Businesses that are a part of or aspire to become part of NC GreenTravel are eligible for free, non-regulatory environmental technical assistance. Applying to the program is free.


“We know our tourism economy depends upon the protection of our nationally recognized travel offerings,” said Pat Long, director of Center for Sustainability at East Carolina University. “It will only be enhanced by sending a clear message that North Carolina tourism providers are working hard to limit energy and water use, reduce waste generation, and still provide the quality vacation and business travel experience travelers have become accustomed to.”


The following list includes some businesses that have earned a spot as NC GreenTravel members:

·        The Old Edwards Inn in Highlands estimates they save $5,800 dollars a year in labor costs associated with switching from using incandescent bulbs to CFL and LED bulbs. In the past, the inn changed about 200 incandescent light bulbs every month. By no longer spending an average of 20 minutes changing bulbs, the Old Edwards Inn estimates that it’s saving 4,000 minutes per month, or roughly $5,800 a year.

·        Central Carolina Community College Natural Chef Café features sustainable meals prepared by students enrolled in the CCCC Culinary Arts Continuing Education and Curriculum programs. The students compost food waste, use biodegradable dishes and work in a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified building in Pittsboro.

·        The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro established a two-acre compost site to handle almost all its animal and plant waste. This change has generated a savings of more than $160,000 a year. The zoo has also seen cost and energy savings by putting in place a biodiesel processing project for its buses and trams, and mounting solar panels that each year produce 135,000 kilowatt hours of electricity for the zoo.


A list of all NC GreenTravel businesses are included in the following pages or can be found on the program’s website at: To learn more, visit


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