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Two County Clare hotels have received the highest accreditation available under the Green Hospitality Awards (GHA) programme after they successfully reduced their energy consumption by almost a third and reduced the amount of waste going to landfill by over 60%.

The Armada in Spanish Point and Hotel Doolin join an elite group of just 7 Irish hotels who possess Platinum accreditation under the hospitality sector’s only environmental accreditation programme, which is supported by the EPA through the National Waste Prevention programme.

In awarding the Clare hotels, both operated under hotelier John Burke, the programme inspectors noted the properties’ combined efforts to reduce water consumption by 38% per guest, cut the amount of waste going to landfill by 62%, and reduce electricity per guest by 28% since joining the programme two years ago.

“The green programme has led to a consequential reduction in operating costs at both hotels and in doing so has enabled us to offer the best possible value to locals and tourists, which is critical in order to compete in the current marketplace,” explained Hotelier John Burke.

“Furthermore,” he added, “this programme has a rigorous way of inspecting our approach to greater environmental issues such as reducing our carbon footprint and landfill waste levels, to our social responsibility approach to more local issues like how we contribute to local charitable and voluntary causes, and the support we show for local food suppliers. Our efforts over the past 12 months have seen us significantly improve on our Silver accreditations in 2012 for the Armada and Hotel Doolin.”

Mr. Burke noted that the participation of the Armada and Hotel Doolin in the GHA programme has helped both hotels to offer unique experiences to visitors.

He continued: “It is no longer acceptable for hotels to offer consumers the same menus and drinks but instead it is important to reflect the location and make an experience unique. We are making an effort now prompted by initiatives like the GHA programme to create experiences in Doolin and Spanish Point unique to any hotel in Ireland. We currently host a number of events such as the Craft Beer Festival, Writers Weekend, Folk Festival, Willie Week Festival, visits to local producers, foodie weekends, and activity club in the armada which includes history walks of the area, surfing and sea weed safaris. Collectively, these initiatives have resulted in a more localised experience, contributing to the local tourist and jobs economy, along with the environment.”

“The use of local suppliers and Irish beers has seen us gain much recognition for food and beverage including the Guaranteed Irish Award for the Armada, and Bridgestone Award for the Hotel Doolin. Proven local job creation as a result of this was a key stone to winning these awards also. Furthermore, the customer reaction to this approach has been significant, with many customers choosing to spend the additional money on premium Irish products like the craft beers over mainstream products. This illustrates that consumers not only want to support Irish jobs, but also are willing to pay more of their hard earned money for a better product,” added Mr. Burke.

Clare now is the leading county for the Green Hospitality Awards programme, with Dromoland having also achieved Platinum status in 2011. Three of the seven Irish hotels now in receipt of the GHA Platinum accreditation are Clare-based.