There are so many ways you could reduce your energy consumption in a big way: you can replace ageing electrical equipment. You can add skylights. You can install remote lighting systems. You can re-configure your hot water systems.
The problem is that all of these are ‘big ticket items’. Things that, while they will save you money by reducing your energy consumption, will also cost you time and money to implement or install in your hotel.But before you ultimately get around to these – there are also a number of smaller things you can do today to reduce your energy use and save on your energy bills.
By including even a few of these ideas, you’ll be starting to reduce the amount of energy your hotel consumes, saving you money to put towards those ‘big ticket items’.
1. Monitoring and reporting
Monitoring and reporting on your energy use is undoubtedly the most important way to reduce energy. Until you know where you actually use energy, you’re not really going to know where the biggest savings can be made. So put a monitoring plan in place, and start capturing some baseline figures.
Analysing your monitoring results, and reporting this analysis to your staff, will help you trigger the momentum of positive change. When you can see the results of your efforts, it is much easier to continue and make even further positive changes.
Energy monitoring and reporting is also a core requirement for a number of Environmental Standards. The EU Ecolabel and Nordic Swan both require energy monitoring and reporting within their accreditation programs.
2. Staff training
Your staff can be your biggest asset and your greatest supporter. It is likely they will know their area of your hotel better than you do, so include them in discussions on changes you want to make. Encourage your staff to come forward with ideas on how the hotel could reduce energy use. There is every chance they will know about appliances left on unnecessarily, temperature variations throughout your hotel and lights left on for no reason.
Engaging your staff will be mostly about the sustainability aspect of reducing energy. While they will not necessarily benefit from the cost savings of reducing your energy use (you can also incentivise them), your staff are residents in your region. They understand the local sustainability issues and the pressures on local utilities during peak season, if it is the case. Showing your staff that you are supporting making their local area more sustainable, through reducing your energy use, will encourage them to support you and take ownership of your energy saving initiatives.
Staff can also contribute directly, through their own behaviour. For instance, turning off appliances and computers at the power source, as opposed to whole offices left on stand-by at the end of each working day, is a great, easy way to start.
Including regular maintenance for all your lighting and appliances is essential to reducing your energy consumption. Well-maintained equipment will perform better for longer. A maintained lighting system will allow you to get a maximum lamp life using minimal energy while maintaining a quality lighting system for your staff and guests. HVAC system maintenance is essential for efficiency. Regular filter replacements and other maintenance, as advised by the manufacturer, will contribute to minimising the energy used.
4. Involve your guests
Your guests can support your quest for reduced energy consumption. By framing it in the right way, as an environmental issue, you will likely find they are happy to help.
There are many ways you can involve your guests, without them feeling inconvenienced. Some of these ways include:
5. Optimise HVAC system
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems can account for 20 – 50% of energy costs in a hotel. It makes sense to pay attention to your HVAC system when looking to reduce your hotel energy use.
Where possible, examine the options for zoning within your HVAC system. Guest rooms, common areas and ‘back of house’ all have different heating and cooling requirements at different times. Finding the optimal temperature range can save you big, with each 1°C in reduced heating or cooling having the benefit of saving up to 8% in HVAC energy use.
Energy savings through reduced HVAC demand can also come from other sources. By minimising the number of appliances and lights in use unnecessarily, you are also reducing the heat generated by those lights and appliances which your HVAC system needs to balance with additional cooling to maintain temperatures during the cooling season.
With many easy ideas to implement with very little effort or outlay, your hotel will quickly be on its way to greater energy efficiency, saving you costs, reducing pressure on the local energy system and delighting your guests with the sustainability benefits associated with your hotel.