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5 Best Green Hotels in America

04/20/2015 01:51 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015

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Reduce your carbon footprint on your next vacation with a stay at one of the best green hotels in the United States. Built using recycled materials and boasting everything from low-energy lighting to a regenerative drive elevator, these forward-thinking accommodations use cutting-edge technology to ensure that eco-friendly guests get a good night's rest. Whether you're planning a weekend in wine country or business trip in the Big Apple, these smart hotels offer an environmentally conscious option for savvy travelers.

h2hotel

Healdsburg, CA

From its very start, the LEED Silver-certified h2hotel set itself apart from the eco crowds. Before building began on the site of a former gas station, the contaminated soil was removed and the property's creek bed restored. With just 36 guest rooms, this Sonoma Wine Country beauty offers Earth-conscious luxury, including bamboo floors, drought-tolerant plants and a green roof that filters rainwater and serves as a natural cooling system. Lights, fans and air-conditioners feature occupant sensors, and solar panels heat the rooms and pool. We especially love on-site Spoonbar, which spotlights local purveyors, vino from sustainable producers and the use of wine kegs to reduce packaging.

Element New York Times Square West

New York, NY

Centrally located in Times Square, this stylish budget hotel invites guests to think green while partaking in all the Big Apple has to offer. Element works to incorporate as many sustainable, renewable or reused materials and products as possible. From environmentally-friendly "do not disturb" magnets to wall art mounted on bases made from recycled tires, ecologically-minded attributes abound. Carpets are crafted from recycled materials, low-flow faucets conserve water, paints are Earth-friendly and the open-plan guest rooms feature kitchenettes with full-size Energy Star appliances. For indulgent extras, check out the complimentary evening reception, nourishing grab-and-go gourmet pantry items and rooftop terrace with gorgeous views of the city.

Hyatt at Olive 8

Seattle, WA

We love it when the mega-chains do their part to make the world a better place. In this case, we applaud the Hyatt group for creating the Hyatt at Olive 8, the first LEED-certified hotel in the über eco-conscious city of Seattle. Standard practices include a water conservation program and building reuse and recycling efforts. Beneath the green roof that provides an urban habitat for birds, bees and butterflies, you can sleep in one of the stylish guest rooms or suites with a clean conscience. The house spa makes being responsible a pleasure, featuring "market fresh" experiences from ingredients grown in the region. Round out your stay with a meal at Urbane, whose farm-to-table menu also relies on produce and products from farmers and food purveyors around the Pacific Northwest.

Hotel Felix

Chicago, IL

The word "felix" means "happy" in Latin, and when it comes to making the environment happy, this hotel is more than doing its part. The first accommodations in Chicago to earn Silver LEED certification, Hotel Felix relies heavily on recycled products, right down to the materials used for guest room carpets. It also incorporates sustainability into its pampering, with the use of natural Aveda products at Asha Spa. Throw in low-energy-use lighting, green cleaning supplies and structural preservation during development to avoid landfill, and it's easy to see how the hotel is a top choice for eco-travelers in the Windy City.

Proximity Hotel

Greensboro, NC

As the first LEED Platinum-certified lodging in the United States, Proximity Hotel has much to be proud of when it comes to saving the planet. Building materials and furniture were locally sourced, water is heated by solar rooftop panels and a regenerative drive elevator creates energy on descent, feeding it back into the electrical grid. If that isn't enough to make eco-friendly travelers happy, on-site Print Works Bistro serves up traditional and modern European cuisine using geothermal energy and showcases local ingredients. Proximity Hotel also works hard to make sure guests are comfortable by offering chic loft-style accommodations, original local artwork, a fitness studio, an outdoor swimming pool and a "guest living room" on each floor.

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