It is Fun (and Easy) Being Green in the Orlando Tourist Corridor with I-Drive Green Initiatives

ORLANDO, FL—(May 2014)- It’s easy being green when you visit the International Drive Resort Area! Orlando’s popular tourist destination offers lots of ways for its guests to put environmentally responsible practices. Not only are you doing something positive for the environment, it is fun!
 
Whether you are on vacation, attending a meeting at Orange County Convention Center or using the I-Ride Trolley System to get around the area, staying on I-Drive makes it easy to put your conservation efforts into practice.
 
Eco-tourism encourages environmentally responsible travel around the world. Each day its importance becomes more evident as it relates to the quality of life that the future will bring…whether at home or while traveling.
 
From changing linens and towels only upon request to using water-conserving bathroom fixtures and toilets, the area hotel industry is responding to the trend toward environmental responsibility. Likewise, visitors express positive feedback as they embrace the green trend. Meeting planners express interest in doing business with environmentally conscious facilities that offer “green meetings.”
 
Staying Green
Thirty-six accommodations in the International Drive Resort area are certified by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and meet the qualifications for designation as a member of the Florida Green Lodging program.  Many other properties in the area are currently awaiting designation to be conferred.  Designated members of the voluntary program adopt numerous green practices that conserve energy, reduce water consumption, protect air quality and reduce waste.
  
As travelers become more willing to make changes regarding conservations efforts, accommodations in the I-Drive Resort area are adopting measures to demonstrate their commitment to conservation and improving the environment.
 
The following 36 International Drive Resort Area properties have qualified for the Florida Green Lodging Program with One Palm certifications:
 
 
To be designated a member of the Florida Green Lodging Program, hotels must implement a variety of green practices. These practices include, but are not limited to, water conservation measures through low flow plumbing fixtures and a linen reuse program, and energy efficiency achieved by installing ENERGY STAR® appliances and programmable thermostats. The waste reduction criteria are met by providing the opportunity to recycle, purchasing items in bulk, purchasing recycled materials and by recycling ink and toner cartridges. All designated members of the Florida Green Lodging Program must also use green cleaners and high efficiency air filters, and clean air handler units frequently.
 
Launched in March 2004, the Green Lodging Program establishes environmental guidelines for hotels and motels to conserve natural resources and prevent pollution. After receiving the designation, hotels are recommended to companies and trade organizations seeking environmentally conscious lodging facilities. (www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging)
 
Green Destination Orlando
With its mission to make Orlando the leading green destination in the world, Green Destination Orlando (GDO) presented participation plaques to Rosen Shingle Creek Resort and The Hilton Orlando as founding members of the GDO. The I-Drive properties were cited as the catalyst for the program by investing in sustainable practices such as: food and waste recycling, water conservation, reducing electrical consumption, and promoting sustainable efforts to its guests.
 
GDO’s mission is to make Orlando the leading green destination in the world by creating a total sustainable travel experience from the moment a visitor steps off the plane in Orlando, to the transportation to their hotel, their stay at local lodging, their daily activities (be it a conference or family vacation), and back to the airport, a completely sustainable loop that never breaks. The program is designed to help properties make significant progress with their green building practices over time. The GDO program invites all hospitality related facilities, including airports, restaurants, shopping venues, transportation, and others to join their community effort to make Orlando a truly Green Destination.
 
It is notable that in keeping with the eco-friendliness of I-Drive, the I-Ride Trolleys are equipped with Clean Diesel Technology (CDT) engines from Cummins, a technology leader in the diesel engine market. The CDT engines eliminate 90 percent of the particulate matter (exhaust pipe smoke) and over 90 percent more of the mono-nitrogen oxides (smog). The new engines are also 10 percent more fuel efficient which helps reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
 
Information about Green Destination Orlando: www.usgbc-cf.org/aws/CFGBC/pt/sp/committee_hospitalityadvocacy
 
Meeting Green
The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is the first in the country to receive certification for its recycling efforts. Recognized for recycling 40 percent of its waste, the center also uses reclaimed water for all of its landscape irrigation, has energy-efficient motors to power fountain pumps and has a control system to regulate air-conditioning and lighting levels. Hosting 300 events, shows and meetings a year, the OCCC is the second largest convention center in the U.S. (www.occc.net). For details: www.occc.net/pdf/occc_fact_sheet.pdf.
 
Orlando has been named one of the top ten U.S. Cities for Green Meetings by GreenBiz.com, a list developed based on industry standards for sustainable meetings and convention practices. Greenbiz.com cited a number of factors: With 2.1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space, 74 meeting rooms and 235 breakouts, Orlando's Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest venue with ASTM/APEX certification. In addition to LED lighting and HVAC systems, environmental measures at the LEED Gold venue include Green Seal-certified cleaning products, irrigation systems that rely on reclaimed water, and a solar PV system.
  
Take the I-Ride Trolley and Save some Green!
Since it began in 1997, the I-Ride Trolley has been one of the most popular attractions among millions of visitors to the I-Drive area. It allows guests to park their car and ride stress-free to the accommodations and attractions in the world’s most popular vacation destination.  And at $2.00 for a single adult ride, it is the best bargain in the area.  
 
Costs: Single cash fare, $2.00 per ride; child cash fare, $1.00 per ride (ages 3-9 with paying adult); senior fare 65 and over, 25 cents per ride. Unlimited ride passes are available: (one-day pass, $5.00 per person); (three-day pass, $7.00 per person); (five-day pass, $9.00 per person); (seven-day pass, $12.00 per person) (14-day pass, $18.00 per person).
 
The I-Ride Trolley’s also have a “green” component. In keeping with the eco-friendliness of I-Drive, the new trolleys are equipped with Clean Diesel Technology (CDT) engines from Cummins, a technology leader in the diesel engine market. The CDT engines eliminate 90 percent of the particulate matter (exhaust pipe smoke) and over 90 percent more of the mono-nitrogen oxides (smog). The new engines are also 10 percent more fuel efficient which helps reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions.
 
Combining the charm of the past with today’s modern comforts, this prototype...exclusive destination transportation system has logged more than 27.6 million trips since it began service in 1997 including over 2.17 million in fiscal 2012. Each I-Ride Trolley seats 54 riders plus two wheelchair positions and an ADA-specified hydraulic lift system. The system operates 15 trolleys with service from 8 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. daily. For information, visit www.iridetrolley.com.
 
Printing Green!
The International Drive Resort Area implemented plans to print all of its publications on recycled paper in 2008. This includes 500,000 Official Visitors Guides, 400,000 I-Ride Trolley maps, District Partners Benefit Guide, and stationery.
 
For more information on the International Drive Resort Area, please visit www.InternationalDriveOrlando.com.
05/2014