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Here’s a guest piece from Sam Marquit, an independent “green” contractor and co-author of Fair Marquit Value:

Commercial contractors see the highs and lows of building practices. Being one myself, I know the importance of building green and using the right materials to promote an eco-friendly facility. Ultimately, as a contractor, you want your building to be LEED certified. That’s the guarantee that you are doing something beneficial and self-sustainable for the Earth. However, I’ve become very interested in how individuals and business owners are being recognized for their commitments to energy efficient and waste recycling to help the go green movement. There’s more than just LEED certification that should be included when being recognized for doing something that helps the entire planet.

In Asia, businesses and community organizations are awarded for all kinds of things beyond LEED certification. Community development, natural preservation, resource conservation and other acts of responsible tourism are awarded through the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards. By promoting eco-friendly ideas and community development, this program has brought about a lot of change for countries involved and how they handle tourism. There are ways to incorporate local flair and preserve resources in a way that isn’t as harmful as the way it used to be when no one had ever heard of the “going green” movement. Businesses in the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards receive all kinds of credit for promoting local food to implementing energy servicing appliances or recycling waste in a highly efficient manner.

Businesses in America are also being recognized for their commitment to sustainability. Las Vegas is one of the busiest tourist destinations. With so many bright lights, star-studded casinos and luxurious hotels, you’d think it’s all about the glamour and not about any kind of eco-conscious programs. However, a number of hotels in Las Vegas are being known for having some of the most eco-friendly practices in big city travel. One of the best hotels on the strip is Las Vegas Palazzo Resort. This hotel was actually given an award for its self-sustainable practices and waste recycling. It’s now known as the “Most Eco-Friendly Hotel in America.” This big city isn’t the only one to practice responsible tourism.

New York City hotels have become known for their lavish design and famous guests, but they are also becoming known for their commitments to going green. Many hotels in NYC have gone to great lengths to change the products that they use. They are cutting down on waste and also promoting self-sustainable facilities so that they don’t use as much energy. One NYC hotel that has been recognized for its eco-friendly practices is ink48 Hotel. This getaway spot actually has a program called Earthcare that does something more than just show off the hotel’s green practices. It brings community leaders together with members to talk about how businesses and individuals can have a positive effect on the world today by going green.

Tourist hot spots across America and the world should take note of how these hotels are looking for ways to be more sufficient. Las Vegas had more than 124,000 guest rooms and 40,000,000 guests just in the last year. It shows that even though businesses may think it’s not worth the cost to upgrade their facilities to energy efficient and sustainable facilities. It actually saves on costs in the long run and helps the environment. In addition, businesses also gain free publicity just by joining in a noble effort like going green. There are a variety of things that even non-hotel businesses can do that are in the tourism industry. By becoming more self-sufficient, you signify to customers and guests that you are a caring facility trying to operate within a world troubled by its resources. With so many businesses taking on the mission to become more self-sufficient and waste conscious, being a commercial contractor has never felt so great. Every day, there is a new challenge to use a green building material or create something self-sustainable for a facility. Being a part of this movement has certainly changed my life.