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California Green Lodging Program

The California Green Lodging and Green Hotel program supports environmentally preferable purchasing policies

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California's Green Lodging program provides information for business or pleasure travelers on how to choose options that are more environmentally friendly.

Part of the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing policy of the California state government, the Green Lodging program brings together the lodging industry, state travelers, and the environment. Together we are diverting waste from landfills, conserving energy and water, and giving us cleaner air to breathe.

The Green Lodging Program encourages State and local government travelers to seek out and give preference to these certified Green Hotels.

Why Green and Sustainable 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.

How to Become Certified as a Green Hotel or Lodging

The CIWMB has developed the California Green Lodging Program, in part, to help the hospitality industry minimize their waste, conserve energy and natural resources, and provide the industry with practical, real-world suggestions for sustainability practices that will improve their bottom line. The program also provides well-deserved recognition for those facilities doing their part to help to keep California green. Two achievement levels are provided: Leadership Level and Participation Level.

Leadership Level 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 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. Download the application forms found online Once you complete the survey, CIWMB staff will follow-up by contacting you. The next step will be to perform a Field Survey (PDF, 335 KB) at your facility. Once the field survey is completed, program evaluation and scoring will be conducted.


California Green Lodging Program

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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