By Ricci Bryson

We are in the age of the ‘eco consumerism’; everyone strives to be a lean green consumer machine by making ethical choices with purchases and products. Nowadays you can buy everything from fairtrade coffee to ethical washing up liquid, but some eco consumers are not only making the switch to environmental friendly products, they are also changing the way they holiday by staying in sustainable hotels.

As we know, the energy that we use going on holidays or mini breaks has an impact that can negate the best of intentions at home – from jetting across to New York to staying in an energy-guzzling hotel. We also know that the temptation to ‘rebound’ can be alluring: spending the money saved on getting that insulation done on some cheap flights to a sun spot, for example.

For some time now though, we have been able to make the choice to minimise the impact that our travel will have on the environment. We can travel by train to those easily-reached destinations across the UK and Europe and we can also offset the carbon used during flights by signing up to the airlines carbon offsetting scheme.

It doesn’t stop there thought.  Hotels across the world are now embracing this green getaway revolution and are saving energy without saving on style. With sustainable hotel design and through new energy efficient technology, hotels will produce less carbon emissions making them alternative and greener option. More regular visitors of hotels may have noticed, for example, the quick sweep of uptake of movement-activated lighting.

One hotel group that has embraced this greener way of running a successful business and a more eco-conscious hotel is the Apex Hotel group. Apex Hotels have not only ensured that their hotels are greener by incorporating many energy saving measures, but they have also used existing buildings and upgraded them to the highest energy efficient standard possible. Within the Apex Hotels, they have installed many energy saving measures such as efficient boilers, flow restrictors for more energy efficient showers, and high specification glazing to help minimise heat loss.

They have also introduced LED lighting, and as proved in Lit Up, the  recent report we published, LED technology looks like a highly efficient alternative to the standard incandescent light bulbs.

If you prefer  your eco-hotels to be a little more boutique and a little less ‘chain’, then there are loads around the UK to tempt you though their environmentally  sourced doors. To name just one, the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall has pulled out the stops with their environmental credentials. Electric car charging points, biomass burners, and solar panels to keep the pool toasty are all as standard.

Perhaps the safe eco-hotel option like the sustainable Apex Hotels is a little too tame for many eco tourists. If that is the case, then they is a whole world of eco hotels and hostels spread across the globe. And if you can travel there in the most energy efficient way possible then why not get off the beaten track and visit the less conventional hotel.  There is also loads of information available on the Green Tourism Business Scheme website about UK green tourism; you can also search for green eco hotels across the globe using the It’s a Green World database.

Ultimately, we’re not saying people should stay exactly where they are in pursuit of sustainability – it’s just that heightened consciousness about the impactof our actions doesn’t hurt. Of course you also need the infrastructure to help you make a change, so it’s heartening to see progress being made, offering the chance to carry a lighter load on the way back home from adventures further afield.