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Looking for an environmentally friendly New England hotel?

Senator Inn & Spa Owners Vern and Betsy Cook have made "green" friendly changes inside and outside their Augusta business as part of Maine's Green Lodging Certification Program.

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Owners Vern and Betsy Cook have

always envisioned the Senator Inn & Spa as a Maine hospitality trend-setter. As far back as 1985, the Maine Lung Association recognized the Senator's restaurant as one of the first in Maine to become voluntarily smoke-free. In the mid-90s, the Cook's began construction on the first hotel Spa in the state. Now, they are continuing the tradition by taking part in Maine?s Green Lodging Certification Program.

The program, administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), awards points to lodging operators for making green-friendly changes in and outside their properties. Once a property is inspected and endorsed by the DEP, it is then certified as a Maine DEP Environmental Leader.

In addition to achieving this certification, the Senator Inn & Spa has affiliated with the international Green Hotels Association and has declared the property 100 percent smoke-free, most recently eliminating smoking in all guestrooms.

The Cooks believe in investing in the health of staff, guests and, in the big picture, the planet itself.

"We feel that each of us, together, can make a significant positive environmental impact," Betsy Cook said. "By increasing awareness and conservation measures and decreasing or eliminating consumption of toxic substances, the big picture suddenly becomes more optimistic."

Accordingly, the Senator Inn housekeeping staff now cleans guestrooms, bathrooms and public spaces with Green Seal certified environmentally safe products. Maintenance personnel no longer use aerosol spray cans or oil-based paints. Low-flow shower heads and sink aerators have been conserving water at the property for some time, and whenever a new toilet is installed or replaced, it is a water-saving model.

For many years, the Senator Inn has reduced its energy usage by having a voluntary-launder policy for guest bed sheets and towels. The property is increasing energy efficiency by replacing incandescent light bulbs with low wattage compact fluorescents. Recycling containers have been placed in every guestroom to encourage more guest participation in the conservation effort, and a new comprehensive recycling center is being designed to replace the existing trash removal area.

The Senator Inn's Cloud 9 restaurant uses Maine-grown produce, organic Maine flour, fresh local seafood, locally-roasted coffee, Maine-made cheeses and other local products throughout its operations. Cloud 9 also is endorsed by the Maine Department of Agriculture's Get Real, Get Maine food and resources program.

The Spa Boutique at the Senator Inn is also a noteworthy local resource for those looking to purchase organic face and body care products, as well as recycled and locally made gifts, including jewelry and items for the home.

Senator Inn & Spa | 284 Western Ave | Augusta | ME | 04330-4934 | Tel. 207-622-5804 or 877-772-2224


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