In a major step toward sustainability, USC Hotel has achieved certification from the nonprofit Green Seal organization, a national leader in setting environmental standards. To earn certification, the hotel underwent a full year of an in-depth audit of purchasing records, practices and on-site inspections to meet Green Seal’s GS-33 green lodging standard.

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“We want to be an example of sustainable practices in the hospitality industry,” said Dirk de Jong, executive director of USC Hospitality and USC Hotel. “Traditional hospitality practices use a lot of resources and materials and generate substantial waste. When we rebranded the property as the USC Hotel a year ago, we made sustainability a key priority. We want to serve our hotel guests and the Trojan Family responsibly and strive for a more sustainable future for the next generation of Trojans.”

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.

USC Hotel is certified at the advanced silver level, which requires facilitywide 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.

“We couldn’t do this without the enthusiastic support from our people,” De Jong said. “Our team members are partners in sustainability, and they’ve given us their full support in learning and following better practices.”

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, 36,000 paper cups are saved every year.

The 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 propertywide conversion to LED lighting is nearly complete. Energy-efficient lighting cuts electricity use by up to 75%.

USC Hotel will undergo an annual review to retain the Green Seal and will continue to implement additional measures to reduce its impact on the environment.