The InterContinental Chicago hotel -- you know, that gorgeous structure across from Nordstrom -- was just awarded the Green Seal Silver certification, which is a fancy way of saying it's one of the most eco-friendly properties in town. The InterContinental is one of five Chicago-area hotels to receive the certification, and the only "Big 10" property (meaning one of the 10 largest hotels in the city by capacity -- in hospitality jargon). It is also the first Chicago hotel to receive certifications from Green Seal and Energy Star, as well as recognition from the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association commending the property on its commitment to the environment. They better make room on their mantle for all of these awards.
Green Seal is a nonprofit organization that evaluates businesses' environmental standards through a series of science-based standards. The InterContinental's eco-awareness program includes more than 30 earth-friendly practices, including a recycling program, low water-usage bathroom fixtures and motion sensor-controlled thermostats in guest rooms to minimize energy waste. The hotel even donates unused amenities to local shelters.
The hotel has also embraced the "eat local" movement through a partnership with L&N Farm in Bristol, Wisconsin, which is about 60 miles from downtown. Farm owner Larry Fitzgerald collaborates with InterContinental's executive chef Hans Lentz to provide custom-grown produce for the hotel's onsite restaurant, Zest.