Zion Lodge Gains Prestigious Award For Sustainable Programs

Zion Lodge (lobby, top photo, Western cabin bottom) has been received a "Gold" certification from Green Seal for its sustainable operations. Xanterra Parks & Resorts photos.

Environmental programs Xanterra Parks & Resorts relies on in Zion National Park have earned the Zion Lodge a Gold certification from an independent firm that sets and measures sustainability standards for products, services, and companies.

That award is the first for a hotel in a national park, according to Xanterra officials, who add that just three hotel and lodging properties overall have received the Gold certification from Green Seal.

The certification means that Green Seal has verified that the lodge’s environmental programs have been effectively implemented. Green Seal, an organization that since 1989 has dedicated itself to identifying and promoting sustainability in the marketplace, will perform an annual audit to ensure Zion Lodge remains compliant with the standard.

Green Seal offers three levels of certification, with Gold being the highest. The standards have been created to help stimulate improvements in waste minimization, energy conservation and management, management of fresh water resources, waste water management, pollution prevention, and encourage organizational commitment to programs like environmentally sensitive purchasing.

Achieving the Gold level means that Zion Lodge met all criteria for silver certification plus three more areas – energy reduction, greenhouse gas reduction and a compliant green cleaning plan.

“This certification is the most comprehensive way yet to demonstrate that our work here is as environmentally sustainable as we claim,” said David Perkins, director of sustainability and risk management for Zion Lodge. “To achieve this standard, everything we do has changed or been enhanced, from the way we wash linens and dishes to the process we use to purchase products and services. This includes our in-room amenities, landscaping and grounds keeping procedures, chemicals, paint, the windows in the buildings and the contractors and vendors we use to name just a few.”

Among Zion Lodge’s environmental practices are using renewable wind power for 100 percent of the lodge’s electricity, purchasing only EPA Energy Star-approved computers and other equipment, installing three photovoltaic solar arrays, purchase of a 200-gallon solar thermal system serving an on-site commercial laundry and saving on glass waste by serving beer on tap and eliminating bottles.

Other external certifications and environmental audit programs for Zion Lodge include the National Park Service Concessions Environmental Audit Program, Marine Stewardship Council Certification program, EPA WasteWise Partner, Clean Utah! through the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and Green-e certified renewable energy purchases. Zion Lodge is a former winner of the Environmental Achievement Award from both the U.S. Department of the Interior and from the National Park Service in 2009 and has been recognized repeatedly for its efforts to protect the environment.

The lodge offers 82 rooms and 40 cabins that are open year-round, along with a restaurant, cafe, and gift shop.