Choose a LEED-certified Destination for your next Getaway (by: Cliff Barre of Peace, Love, and Travel with Cliff and Tiff)

I was recently contacted by Cliff Barre from Peace, Love, & Travel with Cliff and Tiff about writing an article to guest post on South North South.  Cliff informed me that he and Tiffany Krezinski blog about green travel and eco-friendly tourism.  He wanted to share his insight on LEED certified destinations in and around New York so you, the tourist, could make better decisions when it came to traveling more green.  Here is what he had to share.

When planning your next vacation, why not consider a LEED-certified destination?  LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is a voluntary program that involves third-party verification. While LEED-certified buildings are designed to be environmentally friendly, this does not affect their ruggedness and ability to be used in a variety of different manners.

Destiny USA-Syracuse, New York

Destiny USA has the unique distinction of being a gold-certified LEED building. This shopping mall is the largest LEED-certified one in the United States. There is more than 2.4 million square feet of retail space that houses vendors such as Brookstone, Ann Taylor, Hollister and GNC. All of these retailers must also be LEED-certified in order to rent space in this mall.  In addition to having new tenants become LEED-certified, Destiny USA has given it’s restaurants a 5 gallon tote to compost pre and post consumer scraps.  Aside from the green initiatives and shopping, Destiny USA has a go-kart track, laser tag, cinema and many new dining options.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is also a gold-certified LEED building, and is one of the few landmarks that have this distinction. This world famous building will see its carbon emissions reduced by an estimated 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years. It also has low-flow restrooms to help conserve water resources.  Since “going green” the Empire State Building has reduced energy consumption by 38%.  The main attraction here is one of the two observation decks along with the Dare to Dream exhibit, which is housed on the 80th floor.

Hotel Skyler

The Hotel Skyler is the first platinum LEED-certified hotel in the city of Syracuse.  It was constructed with environmentally friendly materials in order to reduce its overall carbon footprint. The building is heated and cooled with the use of a 63-ton geothermal heat pump in order to provide rooms that are comfortable and energy efficient. The Hotel Skyler purchases 35% of its electricity from “Green certified” renewable energy providers.  Guest rooms come complete with wireless Internet access, flat panel televisions, refrigerator and work desk. Hotel amenities include a fitness center, business center and ATM.

Beekman Tower Hotel

The Beekman Tower Hotel is a silver LEED-certified hotel located in midtown Manhattan. All rooms here have spectacular views of the city skyline, and can be studio, one or two-bedroom suites.  One initiative that might not come to mind right away while thinking about going green, are the carpets.  Recycled-content carpeting is slowly replacing the old-school single-use carpeting as sections wear out.  Seen side-by-side and up close, the two carpets are identical.  The Beekman Tower Hotels is also working towards improving indoor air quality, reducing waste, and becoming more energy efficient.  Hotel amenities include a fitness center, luggage storage, valet parking and concierge service. The gourmet restaurant on site serves elegant American and Italian fare for breakfast and dinner.

Planning a LEED-friendly vacation doesn’t mean you will have to skimp on excitement or accommodations. These choices are but a few LEED-certified destinations that will allow you to unwind and relax while being kind to the environment at the same time.

To read more about Peace, Love, & Travel with Cliff and Tiff, be sure and check out their blog and learn simple ways on how you can vacation and travel more green.

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