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A Greener Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, NC

As a holistic mountain resort with a focus on organic culinary and spa programs, Old Edwards Inn and Spa has sustainable and energy efficient operations throughout the property. Old Edwards Inn is the first hospitality provider in North Carolina to be awarded the NC Green Travel Award by the North Carolina Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach (NCDEAO) and the Center of Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina.  NCDEAO is a governmental branch of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDNR) that strives to protect the natural resources of North Carolina. The NC Green Travel awards is designed to encourage the tourism industry to "go green" by recognizing businesses that have established an energy team, recycle material, excel in water efficiency, practice energy conservation, and strive to practice green standards." In 2016 Old Edwards Inn's rating was raised to a "three-dogwood blossom" status with additional "cardinal" - NC Green Travel's highest rating.


  • Old Edwards Club golf course water stations replace bottled water
  • Sustainable farms with organic vegetable and herb gardens
  • Natural composting at Old Edwards gardens
  • Old Edwards employees participate in annual Highlands Plateau Pick-Up, removing litter from area roads and highways.


  • The Spa at Old Edwards uses 100% compostable plant-based cups, lemon/antioxidant water stations replace bottled water, herbs from Old Edwards gardens for seasonal treatments, candles with rechargeable batteries, and washcloths replace paper towels. They clean, sterilize and reuse hair brushes, combs and slippers, close curtains in wintertime to conserve heat, provide on-site training to reduce carbon footprint, and donate unsold merchandise to local charities. 
  • Clean the World program where used bar soap and Molton Brown products are recycled, sanitized and sent to third world countries. Clean the World also provides education and programming focused on water, sanitation and hygiene for all those affected by poverty, homelessness, and humanitarian or natural crises. 
  • Reuse of office paper for internal printing
  • Paper straws or hay straws available resort wide
  • Paper shredding, cardboard, glass, plastic and grease recycling bins resort wide. Packing materials reused or sent to Highlands Business Spot for recycling.
  • Water stations and reusable bottles replace plastic water bottles across property
  • Optional linen change every other day offered to guests
  • Energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Ban on Styrofoam, polystyrene products and internal to-go cup use
  • Any extra wine used in stocks and sauces
  • Use local suppliers when possible to reduce carbon footprint

Training & Management

  • Posted literature to promote guests' involvement
  • Internal Green Team
  • Continued research and purchasing from green companies
  • Conducted Energy Assessment with the help of Waste Reduction Partners
  • Partnered with Western Carolina University's Natural Resource Conservation and Management Program 2017 senior class for a research project focused on uncovering new approaches to green hospitality
NC Green Travel
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