As a premier travel destination located in one of the world's most delicate natural environments, the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale has a deeply rooted commitment to sustainability and green practices. Going green is no longer just the "in" thing to do – it's an economically and socially responsible way to help communities and travelers do their part while visiting, too!
In addition to preserving one-third of the city's land to create Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve in 1995, Scottsdale also is the nation's first city to adopt a goal that all new municipal buildings should be LEEDTM certified at the gold level. This initiative ensures that the city is never wasteful of environmental resources and energy.
The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau began its sustainable initiatives in 2007 to help the tourism community become more eco-friendly. The Scottsdale CVB website is dedicated specifically to sustainable tourism. It is a useful resource for visitors interested in the green movement and provides information on how their travels affect the environment.
NOT THE LAST 'RESORT'
Royal Palms Resort and Spa's on-site green team works to ensure that resort staff is committed to upholding the hotel's commitment to sustainability and also adopts, implements and monitors all earth-friendly practices to measure progress. Among the hotel's green practices is the use of organic and environmentally safe supplies, purchasing sustainable and locally grown foods, and using water-saving and energy efficient devices. The property also supplies 300 pounds of green waste every week to create organic fertilizer for a local farm that provides produce for the resort's restaurant.
From the rental hybrid cars to the organic fair trade cuisine, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has made an effort to make every aspect of the resort sustainable. Particular programs have taken the green efforts even farther. Through the BioDiesel Program, the resort has partnered with AzBioDiesel, a local manufacturer that collects its used cooking oil and converts the grease to biodiesel. It is estimated that the effort will help to prevent more than 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year and provide enough power to fuel at least seven diesel vehicles per year. And the Fairmont-wide Energy and Carbon Management Program allows the Scottsdale property to monitor, track and report its progress toward achieving significant CO2 reductions.
Kimpton's FireSky Resort & Spa is Arizona's first and only Green Seal certified hotel. The property features recycling bins in every guest room, has a complimentary hybrid shuttle, donates unused soaps and gently used bedding to local shelters, and even composts all food scraps, which are then used to feed pigs at Arizona farms. In 2010, the hotel diverted 142 tons from landfills through its recycling and composting efforts. In addition to eco amenities such as free bicycles and the Jurlique all-organic spa, FireSky guests enjoy environmentally-friendly wines in drinking glasses made from recycled bottles used throughout the resort and in its onsite restaurant, Taggia – a dining spot that grows organic herbs and sources some ingredients locally.
Hotel Valley Ho in downtown Scottsdale utilizes non-toxic cleaning fluid, water-saving guest room features and energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs. In addition, the property saved 20,000 tons of landfill waste and debris by using the original 50-year-old structure instead of tearing it down and starting from scratch when it underwent an $80 million renovation in 2005. The hotel also participates in the Clean the World program, recycling all soap, shampoo and other in-room amenities for use in developing countries.
Talking Stick Resort, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, opened in July 2010 and incorporates green building elements using locally manufactured recycled steel and renewable materials like cork flooring. The hotel also utilizes eco-friendly practices including the use of nontoxic cleaning products, locally grown organic foods, and low emission fabrics in guestroom and resort furniture.
Home to a 5,600-square-foot organic garden, The Boulders Resort produces a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices for use in its restaurants and spa. Eco-friendly clothing and products like body care products, handbags and custom-blended organic soaps are made through recycling and sold in the resort boutique. Additional efforts include low-water use grasses on golf course fairways, the use of non-toxic chemicals for landscape maintenance, and organic offerings at the Golden Door Spa such as organic treatments and products, and corn-based cups rather than plastic water bottles.
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch has an environmental program that focuses on the areas of energy efficiency and waste minimization, environmental health and safety, environmental education, and community outreach programs. Educational activities also are offered through a Native American and Environmental Learning Center, eco-pond and Native Heritage Seed Garden, all of which inform visitors of the benefits of sustainability and preservation of culture. Other efforts include an employee Green Team, community involvement, reduced consumption of utilities and trip reduction.
MAKE FRIENDS BACK HOME GREEN WITH ENVY
Eco tours are a great way to learn more about the Sonoran Desert's delicate environment. Both Windwalker Expeditions and My Arizona Guide offer such tours that cover topics like Native American history and archaeology, desert flora and fauna, and area geology.
The Desert Preservation Hike with the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North combines exercise and environmental stewardship. The hike begins at the resort where guests embark on a short walk to nearby Pinnacle Peak Park. There, a guide leads an interpretive hike to learn about the unique flora and fauna that populate Arizona's Sonoran Desert. Concluding the experience, visitors can plant a cactus or native plant, thereby helping to ensure the sustainability of this unique ecosystem.
Hummer and eco friendly are not generally found in the same sentence, but Stellar Adventures makes this ride guilt-free by offering biodiesel-powered vehicles for desert exploration. Guests can take part in the thrill of an off-road adventure, getting a glimpse of the desert's Old West history as well as its beautiful flora and fauna, without worrying about leaving a mark on nature.
Hosting one of the world's finest collections of exotic desert plants, the Desert Botanical Garden showcases 65 acres of cultivated open-air exhibits and 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species. The garden is a leader in conservation, saving 180 tons of green waste per year from the landfill by composting. By increasing recycling opportunities and providing recycling bins throughout the area, the garden also diverts significant amounts of material from the solid waste stream and reduces waste generated by its own operations.
- McDowell Sonoran Preserve www.mcdowellsonoran.org
- Scottsdale CVB website, www.scottsdalegreenbydesign.com
- Royal Palms Resort and Spa www.royalpalmsresortandspa.com
- Fairmont Scottsdale Princess www.scottsdaleprincess.com
- Kimpton's FireSky Resort & Spa www.fireskyresort.com
- Hotel Valley Ho www.hotelvalleyho.com
- Talking Stick Resort www.talkingstickresort.com
- The Boulders Resort www.theboulders.com
- The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch www.scottsdale.hyatt.com
- Windwalker Expeditions www.windwalkerexpeditions.com
- My Arizona Guide www.myarizonaguide.com
- Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North www.fourseasons.com/scottsdale
- Stellar Adventures www.stellaradventures.com
- Desert Botanical Garden www.dbg.org