More and more hotels are saving big energy through simple measures, but a thorough understanding of estates, facilities and sustainability is needed to make the dividends.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy costs within the hospitality sector may only be a small percentage of turnover, but reducing them can directly increase revenue without the need to increase sales.
Hotels face myriad energy challenges; hot water is required 24/7, lighting needs to be operational 24/7, while other elements like ventilation must also function constantly.
Managing this demand more sustainably offers huge environmental and cash savings. Paul Nisbett, Chief Financial Officer of The Hotel Collection, has estimated he’s made savings of around £360,000 a year by investing £300,000 in energy and water efficiency projects.
Seeking additional benefits, more and more hotels are following his stance and embracing sustainability, branding to today’s greener, more discerning public. Modern corporate events and hospitality demand far more transparent environmental metrics than ever before.
“There are, of course, social and environmental advantages to reducing energy consumption, such as minimising climate change,” writes the Trust. “Increasing awareness about these issues has seen customers and guests becoming more discerning about the environmental credentials of the businesses they deal with.”
Key figures on hospitality energy consumption
1) Annual energy costs for this sector are in excess of £1.3 billion, resulting in carbon emissions of more than 8 million tonnes per year.
2) Energy used in catering alone accounts for between 4% and 6% of operating profits
What top sustainable solutions exist for the sector?
1) Voltage optimisation (VO)
VO reduces incoming mains voltage, saving valuable energy across an entire hotel estate. Installation is non-disruptive to hotel operations and it also prolongs the life expectancy of electrical equipment. Kitchens, laundry, sports, leisure and swimming facilities can all benefit. Return on Investment (ROI) is typically 2 to 3 years.
2) Energy monitoring & targeting (M&T) / bureau services
M&T and bureau services measure, manage and advise on your energy usage 24/7, delivering a bespoke path to energy efficiency. M&T forms a key element within energy management and energy reduction procedures, delivering rapid utility bill savings.
3) Variable Speed Drives (VSDs)
VSDs reduce the speed and torque of plant motors to match the requirements of the process, rather than running at full speed all the time.
The Engineer explains that Claridge’s hotel achieved a 30% reduction in energy costs, following the installation of two 11kW variable-speed drives to control air supply and extraction in its kitchen.
4) Lighting controls
These controls use smart sensors for daylight harvesting and occupancy detection, and allow for precise fine-tuning of lighting. Bespoke control systems can cut lighting electricity bills by up to 75% and lower CO2 emissions.
5) Building controls
Intelligent building controls enhance the day-to-day running of premises, while improving energy efficiency and improving guest comfort. Controlling elements like heating and ventilation can offer up to 40% lower energy bills, future-proofed, ‘intelligent’ buildings and reduced CO2 emissions.
The bottom line
Any, or all of the above technologies can significantly reduce energy consumption in hotels, adding green ticks to sustainability branding and offering valuable financial benefits.
The truth is; there has never been a better time to investigate what opportunities are available to draw hospitality closer to its inevitable, more sustainable future.