USC Hotel: Why We Pursued Green Seal Certification
2/6/2020 | Green Seal
by Ron Mackovich, USC University Communications
When USC rebranded our university-owned hotel as USC Hotel a year ago, we made it a goal to be an example of sustainability practices in the hospitality industry. Traditional hospitality practices use significant resources and materials and generate substantial waste. We aim to serve our hotel guests and the Trojan Family responsibly and strive for a more sustainable future for the next generation of Trojans.
In a major step toward sustainability, USC Hotel has now achieved certification from Green Seal, a national leader in setting environmental standards. To earn this premier certification, the hotel underwent an in-depth audit of purchasing records, practices and on-site operations to meet Green Seal’s GS-33 green lodging standard.
A Sustainable Stay
USC Hotel’s sustainability efforts, aligned with Green Seal’s guiding principles, have produced impressive results. Since January 2019, the hotel has kept 250,000 plastic bottles out of landfills and composted 5,000 pounds of food waste. By switching to glassware in guest rooms, the hotel is saving 36,000 paper cups a year.
USC Hotel has transitioned to environmentally conscious vendors, including those that incorporate recyclables into their packaging and accept the packaging back after it’s been used. Linen, blankets and pillows that are being replaced are donated to local homeless and animal shelters. Thanks to waste diversion and composting, the hotel has kept over 30 tons of materials out of landfills. A property-wide conversion to LED lighting is nearly complete, which will cut electricity use by up to 75%.
USC Hotel is certified at the advanced silver level, which requires facility-wide measures to reduce waste, water and energy use, along with products that contribute to pollution. Single-use plastics are being reduced or eliminated under a “less is best” policy. Drought resistant landscaping and plumbing fixtures are cutting water use, and the hotel has switched to nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning products. Other sustainable steps include:
- Durable equipment and furniture that can be reupholstered, refinished or recycled.
- Shower curtains made of recycled plastic water bottles.
- New, energy-efficient washers and dryers.
- Extensive staff training in waste reduction, water conservation and energy savings.
USC could not have achieved this rigorous certification without the enthusiastic support from our people. Our team members are partners in sustainability and have us their full support in learning and following better practices.
USC Hotel’s Green Seal certification is a milestone in the hotel’s commitment to a sustainable urban future and lines up with the university’s forthcoming 2028 sustainability plan. We look forward to partnering with Green Seal as we continually seek new measures to reduce USC Hotel’s impact on the environment.