This might strike some as advice only for people visiting Halifax from away, but it's good to be informed, either way. Now you will be able sleep well, knowing you recommended the most eco-friendly hotels in the city, thanks to us and something called the Green Key Eco-Rating Program.

The Hotel Association of Canada's Green Key system is a program designed to measure and rate a hotel's environmental performance. The hotels are audited, posed 140 questions to determine their level of operational sustainability. The questions cover areas such as energy conservation, water conservation, solid waste management, hazardous waste management, indoor air quality, community outreach, building infrastructure, land use and environmental management. Each question asked is assigned a certain point spread, and the Green Key rating is awarded depending on the points.

Eighty points is the highest value, 100 percent achievement, and a hotel with this qualification get a 5 Key 'ECOmmodation" rating. It would be a "hotel that exemplifies the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility throughout all areas of operations." Disappointingly, there are no 5 Key rated hotels in Halifax. It does mean that there is something to shoot for.

A 4 Key rated hotel is one "that has shown national industry leadership and commitment to protecting the environment through its wide-ranging policies and practices," with "mature programs in place that involve management, employees, guests, and the public, and which have shown substantial and measurable results."

There are four in Halifax and one in Dartmouth:

Cambridge Suites Hotel, Halifax

1583 Brunswick, 420-0555

cambridgesuiteshalfiax.comCitadel Halifax Hotel, Halifax

1960 Brunswick, 422-1391

citadelhalifax.com

("Environmental stewardship is part of the corporate culture," an arguable observation made by the hotel's friendly and informative website. "We have implemented various environmental initiatives that include installation of energy efficient lighting, improved waste management practices and reduced water and energy consumption programs.")Courtyard Marriott, Halifax

5120 Salter, 428-1900

marriott.comFour Points by Sheraton, Halifax

1496 Hollis, 423-4444

fourpointshalifax.comPark Place Ramada Plaza Hotel, Dartmouth

420 Brownlow Avenue, 468-8888

ramadans

There is another Halifax hotel that scores near the top on an environmental assessment, but it isn't included on the Green Key list. It's on the list for the Audubon Green Leaf Program, an assessment for international hotels created by the not-for-profit Audubon International conservancy organization. The program members "conduct a self-evaluation of their environmental performance that covers four key areas: energy efficiency, resource conservation, pollution prevention, and environmental management. Based on the results, the hotel receives a confidential report that suggests ways to improve. It is also awarded an eco-rating of from one to five 'green leaves' that may be used in marketing and promotion."They give a 4 Leaves award to (drum roll please):The Westin Nova Scotian Hotel, Halifax

1181 Hollis, 421-1000 westin.ns.ca

Which we find interesting, since the Westin's executive carrier is a Hummer. Maybe that's what lost them the fifth leaf.

And finally, for those business people who are looking for furnished suites, try Premiere Executive Suites (1479 Lower Water Street, Suit 190, 420-1333, choosepremiere.com), and enjoy quality service with a green philosophy, that includes three separation recycling (paper, garbage and beverage containers) and office composting (with half the suites offering composting too, the other half to follow soon).

Source for Hotels: hacgreenhotels.com, terrachoice.ca

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