A number of businesses in Santa Monica are being certified green through the city’s two-year-old Green Business Certification Program, one of a growing network of similar programs establishing across California.

The certification process is considered somewhat rigorous and the fruits of the program have been surprising, a city Sustainable Works spokesperson said. Originally conceived as a way to identify local business leaders, the program is unearthing innovation, creating networks and providing options for consumers where none existed before, the spokesperson said.

The Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica is believed to be one of the first hotels on the West Coast to introduce and test a non-toxic cleaning system which electrolyzes tap water and salt to create a cleaning agent that both cleans and sanitizes, according to the Sustainable Works spokesperson.

“We are committed to serving as a role model for all our properties, as well as for the community at large,” said Glenn Epstein, executive assistant at the Sheraton Delfina. “We are thrilled to be the first luxury hotel in Santa Monica to be certified via Santa Monica’s program.”

In order to reduce energy costs, 3,100 incandescent lamps were replaced with compact fluorescent lamps, which will save approximately 459,000 kilowatts per year, he said. The newly renovated hotel will host the 2009 Santa Monica’s Sustainable Quality Award luncheon on March 25th.

The David Hertz Studio of Environmental Architecture focuses on the design and construction of environmentally-responsible residential and commercial buildings and the products that go along with it. The studio’s reconditioned office space includes a green roof which has drought tolerant plants and solar panels on it, protecting the bay from polluted rainwater runoff, reducing the heat island effect, and generating electricity.

In addition to the Sheraton Delfina and David Hertz Studio, the Green Business Certification Program named three other new members this month, Apogee Electronics Corporation, Kreation Kafe and Bryan Cave Law Offices.

Information on the program, www.smgbc.org/.