San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Hotel Presidente Named First to Go Carbon Neutral

Shut off those lights and turn down the air. That is the message Hotel Presidente sends its guests following its certification as the first carbon neutral hotel in San José.

Katherine Carter, the hotel’s operation manager, said the company has a social responsibility to become carbon neutral.

“(Hotel Presidente) has to aim for sustainability,” Carter said.

The Costa Rican government set the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021. Several companies have earned that title since the program was first announced in May 2007, but the luxury hotel is the first inn to be certified carbon neutral.

To guide it through the certification process, Hotel Presidente called on Carbon Fund, a U.S. non-governmental organization that focuses on fighting climate change through neutralizing carbon use.

Carbon Fund analyzed the hotel’s carbon footprint, or the quantity of carbon the company uses, and devised a plan to help combat that footprint.

Carter said the company has spent $150,000 to reduce its footprint. Most efforts focused on making lighting and refrigeration more efficient. Hotel Presidente also reminds guests to turn off lights and minimize their use of water and air-conditioning.

But the hotel cannot solely become carbon neutral by changing its practices because it still uses energy. Carter said the company must offset a remaining 237.6 metric tons of carbon by paying Carbon Fund to plant trees around the world.

Carter said she did not know how much Hotel Presidente would have to pay Carbon Fund to offset its excess carbon.

–Leslie Friday


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