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Certification Process

Steps to Achieve a "Green" Hotel Designation

  • Each property must first apply by completing and submitting the hotel application (PDF).
  • Once the survey is received, DGS staff contacts the property to schedule an onsite field survey (PDF). 
  • After the field survey visit, DGS staff completes a program evaluation and scoring.
  • If the property qualifies for the certification, it is given a rating of one of three levels, Participant, Leadership, or Environmentalist.  (See levels and scoring information below.  Also see Green Lodging Directory.)
  • There is a membership fee of $500 for a three-year period.  Each property will need to show an active initiative of sustainability improvements to be eligible for a recertification.

Levels of Certification

  Environmentalist Level

This is the highest level of program participation.  Environmentalist Level hotels achieved a field survey score of 350 or more points.   They have a written environmental policy in place and meet all of the seven of the program's criteria:

  • Waste minimization
  • Reuse/recycling
  • Energy efficiency
  • Conservation and management
  • Waste management
  • Hazardous materials management
  • Environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing policies

  Leadership Level

​This is the second highest level of program participation.  Leadership Level hotels achieved a field survey score of 325 to 349 points.  They may have an environmental policy in place and meet most of the seven of the program's criteria, and have either one-year or three-years (depending on the selected time period) from their date of enrollment to demonstrate continuous improvement and elevate their rating to the Environmentalist Level.

  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 324.  Participation level hotels meet some of the seven program criteria, and have either one-year or three-years (depending on the selected time period) from their date of enrollment to demonstrate continuous improvement and elevate their rating to the Leadership Level.
 
Thank you for your participation in this program.  We look forward to your support and commitment to reducing waste, saving energy, water and California's other valuable resources through environmentally friendly practices in the hospitality industry.