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California Green Lodging Program

It started as a way to assist state employees make environmentally friendly lodging choices while travelling on business but it is useful to anyone trying to minimize their impact while staying in California, for business or pleasure.

It is not easy to become certified by the Green Lodging Program. Applicants first fill out a quick questionaire leading to an ititial scoring. This is folowed up by an in-person field study using a checklist with over 120 items designed to guage the level of "greenness" of the property. There are two designations you can recieve if you pass the survey.

A sample question on the survey is "Liquid or powdered laundry detergent is
non-phosphate, non-toxic and biodegradable?"

Leadership Level - This is the highest level of program participation. Leadership level hotels achieved a minimum field survey score of 300. They have a written environmental policy in place and meet all seven of the program's criteria:

* Waste minimization.
* Reuse/recycling.
* Energy efficiency.
* Conservation and management.
* Waste management.
* Freshwater resource management.
* Hazardous materials management.
* Environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policies.

Participation Level - This is the entry level for the program. Participation level hotels are building their environmental green lodging programs. They achieved a field survey score of 250 to 300, and they might not have a written environmental policy in place. Participation level hotels meet some of the seven program criteria, and have three years from their date of enrollment to demonstrate continuous improvement and elevate their rating to the Leadership Level.

There are nearly 100 “green hotels” throughout California, including two corporate partners--Hilton Hotels Corporation and Kimpton Hotels. Hilton and Kimpton have implemented corporate environmental policies throughout their hotels nationwide and are making great strides in reducing their environmental footprints.

Some of the tactics use to reduce the hotels carbon footprint are: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), increasing your recycling and composting, and reducing your energy and water usage. Every product purchased can have an impact on human health and the environment. They promote the purchase of recycled, repairable, and durable goods, all of which are environmentally preferable products.

Why the big deal with "Green" Hotels?

  • Average-sized hotels purchase more products in one week than 100 families do in a year. We want at least 50 percent of those purchases to be environmentally preferable products.
  • Waste generation can be as high as 30 pounds per room per day; as much as 80 percent of these materials can be recycled.
  • Hospitality industry spends $3.7 billion a year on energy. Electricity use accounts for 60-70 percent of the utility costs of a typical hotel. We can introduce you to energy-efficient products and practices that will reduce energy consumption, therefore lowering energy costs.
  • Two percent of California’s food waste comes from the hotel and lodging industry (112,000 tons per year). This food waste can be composted and/or donated to charities.
  • Typical hotels use 218 gallons of water per day per occupied room. Water-efficient fixtures can reduce water and sewer bills by 25-30 percent.

Read more about the program here.

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