ORLANDO, Fla., April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange, today announced the winners of its annual RCI® Green Award, with Wyndham Great Smokies Lodge in Sevierville, Tennessee awarded the highest platinum honor. The fourth iteration of this competitive award program saw applications from many of RCI's most environmentally-conscious affiliated resorts, with the winners selected and verified by this year's new third-party sustainability expert and evaluator, GreenCircle Certified, LLC.
"So many of our affiliated resorts are incredibly resourceful in the ways they innovate, implement and maintain sustainable business practices into their day-to-day activities," said Gordon Gurnik, president, RCI. "The RCI Green Award celebrates our top RCI affiliated properties whose green initiatives have made some great positive impact on the earth, have elevated their resorts' level of environmental-friendliness and have inspired their industry peers to adopt the same eco-friendly mentality."
Wyndham Great Smokies Lodge, the winner of the Platinum RCI Green Award, exemplifies best-in-class sustainability practices. Best illustrated through its various community outreach efforts, the resort supports several local beautification projects including road and river clean-ups, and tree planting at nearby schools and parks. The site also contributes to multiple community fundraisers that enhance local gardens and school arboretums, as well as promotes recycling efforts and litter prevention.
Wyndham Ocean Ridge Resort in Edisto Beach, South Carolina, was awarded the Gold RCI Green Award. A recently-installed electric vehicle charging station affords guests the luxury and convenience of quick energy service. Travelers interested in exploring the resort's surrounding area can recharge their electric cars directly on-site before hitting the road. Additional green practices incorporated on-site include various energy and water reduction initiatives.
Based in Princeville, Hawaii, Grand Pacific Resorts Hanalei Bay Resort took home the Silver RCI Green Award. The resort's unique coconut reuse program repurposes coconut husks, which would be otherwise disposed, to plant and protect its on-site orchid blooms. The husks are placed over the orchid roots to safeguard the plant until it grows strong enough to adhere to nearby trees and flourish. Additional native vegetation placed throughout resort grounds support its water reduction practices.
RCI collaborated with GreenCircle, a leader in third-party eco-certification, to assess, rate, and verify resort applicants based on their innovations in energy and water conservation, waste management, community outreach and environmental management. The results of the GreenCircle's audit determined the winners of this year's RCI Green Awards.
"The commitment from these three recipients to make sustainability a priority is a great example of how our industry continues to do its part to build a cleaner, enduring and more efficient environment for our next generation of travelers," continued Gurnik. "Our valued partners share our mission to deliver long-lasting RCI vacation memories to subscribing members and their families and friends for years to come, and we applaud their efforts to keep sustainability top of mind in all that they do."
About RCI RCI is the worldwide leader in vacation exchange with approximately 4,500 affiliated resorts in more than 100 countries. RCI pioneered the concept of vacation exchange in 1974, offering members increased flexibility and versatility with their vacation ownership experience. Today, through the RCI Weeks® program, the week-for-week exchange system, and the RCI Points® program, the industry's first global points-based exchange system, RCI provides flexible vacation options to its 3.8 million RCI subscribing members each year. RCI's luxury exchange program, The Registry Collection®, is the world's largest program of its kind with approximately 200 affiliated properties either accessible for exchange or under development on six continents. RCI is part of Wyndham Exchange & Rentals and the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN). For additional information visit our media center or rciaffiliates.com. RCI also can be found on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.