Hotels are extremely energy intensive businesses. From lighting and heating, to the energy required to keep the premises clean and tidy, reducing energy consumption is a significant challenge.
The thought of becoming more energy efficient may leave you worried about effecting your guest experience or the quality of service you offer.
However, by utilising the latest technology, planning properly and communicating openly with your staff and guests – it can turn into a great selling point. As many becoming more environmentally aware, the public are increasingly looking to use companies who are environmentally responsible. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, 65% of consumers will choose a more sustainable option if the price and quality is the same.
So, what does this mean for the hospitality industry?
Hotel energy efficiency
According to the Carbon Trust, the hospitality sector spends £1.3 billion annually on energy. This creates 8 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. It is estimated by introducing simple energy efficiency measures, which we will discuss below, the UK hospitality sector could reduce energy consumption up to 14%.
Why reduce my hotel’s energy consumption?
Many hotels may feel under pressure to demonstrate their ‘green’ credentials. With the UK now having passed a law to create net zero emissions by 2050, how businesses consumer energy is a priority.
Consumers are increasingly drawn to companies that are taking steps to tackle climate change. Reducing your emissions can be good news for your brand.
It is important for hotel owners and managers to remember that becoming more energy efficient can radically reduce your overheads. Every saving in energy and water consumption means less money wasted on commercial energy bills. Less spending means more profit for your hotel.
What can hotels do to become more energy efficient?
Conduct an energy audit
Take some time to gather your energy bills. If you don’t already know, identify how much you spend on gas and electricity each month.
If you’re not keeping a close eye on this part of your administration, it may come as a shock. But once you start to make efforts to reduce your energy consumption, where you started is a useful benchmark.
Consider your premises, consult with colleagues and map out typical routines. Ask yourself whether lighting, heating or appliances are left on when not in use.
Find the right tariff for your hotel
Let’s start with your business energy contract. When did you last get a new tariff? If it was more than a year ago, you are almost certainly overpaying for the energy you use.
Switching to a better value tariff is a simple way to reduce your running costs. Business Electricity Prices can find you a comparable quote in seconds via our online comparison tool. We can even find you a deal that meets your business’ specific needs.
By switching to a green energy tariff, you can lower your energy bills and do your bit to support renewable energy generation.
Data shows that the major proportion of spending is on heating. However, heating is essential – so what can be done about it? Plenty! Too many businesses, in hospitality and in other industries, think of energy bills as a fixed cost. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Taking the time to develop better heating management systems in your team. It can result in big reductions in energy.
Comfortable room temperature is between 19 - 22°C. If your heating system is not operating in this range, your hotel is wasting energy and money. Install smart thermostats, ideally in every room. Ensure staff are monitoring and controlling the heating across your premises appropriately.
There are other factors that can lead to poor energy consumption:
- Leaving radiators or heaters turned on in unoccupied rooms.
- Poor monitoring of thermostats.
- Timers set incorrectly.
- Boilers running inefficiently.
All these problems can be addressed by committing to better maintenance. Involve staff in this process and assign responsibility to targets you want to identify.
Some examples of routine maintenance may include a yearly boiler inspection. Or a staff member to check the heating is turned off after a guest has checked out.
Guests won’t notice a reduction in heating, in fact they may be more comfortable!
Insulation and Ventilation
Two of the reasons for high heating bills are poor ventilation and insulation.
Although improving building insulation can be expensive, over time the improved energy efficiency of your building will be reflected in lower bills. If you are planning a refurbishment, try to factor insulation into the cost if it is an issue.
Make sure doors and windows are closed while the heating system is operating. If it is too hot, the thermostat is too high! Close curtains during the night to improve internal insulation.
If you have areas where draughts are an issue – seek to address it. Simple draught-proofing measures can be quick and inexpensive, such as sealing gaps around windows or doors.
Make the most of the natural light you have in public areas. This will reduce your reliance on electric light.
When it comes to lighting, if your hotel hasn’t upgrade to LED or other low-energy consumption bulbs, now is the time to do so. They are more affordable than ever and available in a huge range of styles and colours. LEDs are as much as 70% more long-lasting than standard bulbs.
Implement a light “switch-off” policy. Support with staff training and signage. Motion sensors can also be a helpful tool to reduce the impact of lights being left on. Automatic lighting controls can reduce costs by up to 50%.
Most hotels will use significant amount of energy in food preparation and laundry.
Firstly, ensure equipment is only switched on when in use. The following measures are also worth considering:
- Use pots and pans that fit on hobs properly, so energy is not wasted cooking.
- Regularly clean ventilation systems.
- Keep refrigeration and storage units in good condition.
- When upgrading appliances, prioritise energy efficient models.
Invest in a cover to minimise heat loss. Adding a heat exchanger to pool equipment can also promote energy efficiency
Consider renewable energy
If you have space, renewable energy generation can be a good long-term investment to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels.
Solar panels can help to reduce your reliance on National Grid electricity. Equally, a biomass boiler or air source heat pumps can be a good alternative to gas or oil heating. An air source heat pump allows you to transfer heat from outside a building to inside it, or vice versa.