Experts in the field of hotel energy management shared their cost-saving advice for operating energy-efficient properties.
GLOBAL REPORT—Sensible, effective energy management can save hotels millions every year.
In its most recent report on the hospitality industry, energy consultant Navigant Research found that the “global market for guestroom energy management systems and enterprise-level energy management software in the hospitality sector will reach $967.9 million in 2020, up from $445.5 million in 2012.”
With such huge sums at stake, Hotel News Now asked three executives in hotel energy procurement, strategy and consultancy to submit their favorite three energy management and cost-saving tips for hotels.
Cian Hatton, head of energy and environment, Whitbread PLC’s Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International division:
- Get the building management system that works best for you: “This enables you to take control of your major power-consuming assets, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning and lighting. The concept is simple. It provides heating, cooling and lighting as and when it is needed and at the required level … and enables a consistent customer experience across the estate using only the energy that is actually required.”
- Understand performance metrics: “This gives individual hotel sites an energy measure as part of a balanced score card for business performance. Energy is an overhead that comes about second- or third-highest after labor and laundry.”
- Engage staff: “Employees are your biggest lever to preventing energy drift and to reduce base consumption, so it is vital to give staff the understanding and tools to reduce utilities consumption. Many aspects of energy management in hotels cannot be taken care of through technology alone, so creating league tables and competition between sites is a great way to motivate and engage.”
Paulina Bohdanowicz-Godfrey, director of energy and environment, Hilton Worldwide Holdings:
- Monitor and actively manage: “Employ big data to provide clear, actionable instructions as to when wastage appears. At Hilton, we use LightStay as our corporate responsibility measurement platform across all global properties, (and it) helps our teams better manage energy and water usage, as well as drive improvement across hundreds of indicators over time. For example, it tracks historical energy and weather data to forecast future energy usage levels and predicts the impact of performance on cost and annual consumption, taking into account variables such as occupancy. The system also sends automatic alerts to hotel teams when performance falls below or above expected levels. We have now taken this one step further by implementing real-time data monitoring.”
- Employ meaningful control strategies and optimize existing processes: “Technology solutions, from simple timed schedules for equipment, occupancy-driven controls and comprehensive BMS systems are essential. These need to be set up correctly and must be coordinated with regular reviews of operational procedures and schedules and even recommissioning of equipment. Through a range of knowledge-sharing initiatives and platforms we provide our hotel operating teams with tools that enable them to ask the right questions and find appropriate answers and support. As with all activities, remember that guest satisfaction and safety always comes first.”
- Empower and engage staff: “Even the smartest technology when not supported by human cooperation will not deliver the desired effect. Share good practices, encourage cross-departmental checks and believe in internal and cross-portfolio competitions to keep engagement. For action, rely on team creativity and their understanding of their own properties.”
Dr. Thomas Hillig, founder and CEO of energy consulting firm THEnergy:
- Solar installations to cut down on space, increase aesthetics: “Space restrictions can be overcome with solar installations that are aesthetically integrated. For example, Club Méditerranée’s Finolhu Villas, on Gasfinolhu Island in the Maldives, employs almost one megawatt peak of solar power in combination with 1.5 megawatt hours of energy storage to power the whole island resort on sunny days for 24 hours. Diesel generator sets are used only for backup power.”
- Combine all forms of power: “At Over Yonder Cay, a luxury private island (with four guest villas) in the Bahamas, 300 kilowatt hours from wind turbines, 375kWh from solar photovoltaics panels and 6MWh from the storage system meet 96% of its energy needs.”
- Use what is naturally available in your location: “Wilderness Safaris’ Chitabe Camp, in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, runs entirely on solar energy, with a 75kWh plant, and, for night operations, a 220kWh energy storage system. In addition, geysers were converted either to heat pumps or hybrid solar/heat systems, which considerably reduced power demands.”