Potential for important energy savings in the hospitality sector

Hospitality services are growing globally. Carl Weinschenk write on the Energy Manager Today website about the important opportunities to increase energy efficiency in the hospitality sector.


The Hospitality Sector Offers Significant Energy Efficiency Opportunities

The hospitality industry in general, and big hotels in particular, can add a tremendous amount to the bottom line by focusing on energy efficiency. It isn’t that there are unique opportunities in the hospitality area that are seen nowhere else. It’s that just about every energy saving technology — from LEDs to efficient washing machines — can have great impact in hotels.

A typical large hotel is a 24×7 operation in which energy is poured into administrative offices, guest rooms, conference facilities, dining facilities and other areas.

Last week, Caribbean News Now reported that that The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Caribbean Clean Energy Program (CARCEP) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) signed an agreement aimed at creating beneficial energy policy reform, research and capability development, according to the story.

The arrangement was promoted by the Caribbean Hotel Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action (CHENACT) program, which supports more than 150 hotels in the region, the story said. Work is ongoing, though the announcement was just made:

Already, the partnership has resulted in the launch of an energy benchmarking tool that followed the agreement signing at the forum. The tool, which was developed by USAID CARCEP, will allow hotel operators to analyse their electricity, fossil fuel and water usage; compare the energy and water intensity with similar hotels in their area; and learn about energy and water efficiency strategies they can employ to reduce hotel operating costs.

In August, the Recommended Hotels blog provided advice on reducing energy use. The piece provided some examples of what is being done. Marriott, for instance, ran a trial of pot washing technology that cut water use demand by a whopping 92 percent. AccorHotels, the post said, is planting 1,000 gardens to tackle food waste.

The post also refers to LED lighting as a way that hotels of all sizes can cut energy use. Apparently, the idea is gaining traction: Technavio released a report in August that says LEDs are growing in the hospitality industry for four reasons: The decline in their cost; regulatory mandates for their use; demand for intelligent lighting systems and rapid urbanization.

Solar power also is gaining in popularity. Pacific Business News reported in August that the Fairmont Kea Lani hotel in Wailea, Maui, Hawaii has completed a solar project that is expected to reduce the hotel’s reliance on the grid by more than 10 percent. The story says that the installation of 1,528 solar panels will generate 500 KW of energy for the 413-room facility. Other recent energy efficiency steps at the hotel were replacement of laundry equipment and new kitchen hood systems with sensor-based fan operation, the story said.

The good news for hotels is that every area in which energy is expended represents an area in which significant savings can be found. For instance, the Tide Professional Coldwater Laundry System, according to P&G Professional, can cut onsite energy requirements by as much as 75 percent and water requirements by as much as 40 percent. The company estimates that a 150-room hotel can save as much as $8,700 annually based on water, energy and linen replacement cost avoidance.

The bottom line is that there are many energy efficiency opportunities in hotels today, and others – such as using the IoT and mobile technology to automate operations and cut energy use – will gradually become available over time. It isn’t that there are unique opportunities in the hospitality industry. It is that in no other venue – besides hospitals – feature as many areas in which energy efficiency steps can be easily put in practice.

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