Hoteliers throughout the UK who want to remain competitive can no longer consider “green technology” as an industry fad. As a large consumer of energy resources, the UK hospitality industry should be putting sustainable green technology high on the agenda.
There is the argument that the demand to go ‘green’ is being pushed by environmentally sensitive guests who are growing in number and eco-friendly hotels are being favoured over ones that have not made moves to be more energy efficient.
This is backed up by Leigh Tymms from Green Edge Environmental who in a recent interview with hotel-industry.co.uk said, “there are a number of surveys that demonstrate such a trend for the hotel marketplace and these support wider UK research of an increasing awareness in both consumer and business buying decisions. One survey by Devon County Council showed that many guests consider environmental issues when booking a hotel and that three quarters think a green business is likely to be more quality conscious. A Travelocity report stated that 80 per cent of travellers are willing to pay extra to visit an eco-friendly destination or business. Exact figures vary survey to survey but together they do show a fundamental shift in peoples buying behaviour.”
Green initiatives, which were consigned to being the unique selling point of luxury hotels, have spread across the industry, which has seen hotels of all sizes and markets adopting eco-friendly practices, from sourcing local construction materials to installing technology that reduces energy use.
Green Technology Solutions
There are a range of options and technologies that hoteliers can employ to become more ‘green’, depending on budget and requirement. Some hotels, for example, are using wireless controllers that can run key cards, lighting and air conditioning in rooms, in an attempt to reduce energy consumption. This device helps lights and other devices turn of automatically in the room when the guests leave, and adjust to the most favourable settings when they return.
This technology requires no additional wiring and saves energy, which means operating costs are not added.
Other eco-friendly technology that is being used in hotels includes a system for heating, which starts up when a guest enters the room and turns itself down again when they leave. Compact hot water distribution systems that allow hot water to reach end users faster, dual flush toilets that use less water and high performance fireplaces that eradicate air leakage are also widely being implemented.
Energy-efficient technology might be costly initially, but the hotel industry is acknowledging the long-term benefits that can be made through savings being made on rising energy costs.
Mr Tymms added, “It is possible for every hotel to measure their return on investment (ROI) from green initiatives, both in terms of the sales/marketing benefits and cost savings. Whether the cost savings focus on water, waste, electricity or almost anything else used or produced in the hotel, environmental management will measure these, before, during and after steps are taken to reduce the associated environmental impact. The most important measurement will then be visible directly on the bottom line; how much is being saved.”
With the hotel industry wrestling with tighter profit margins, more demanding guests and fiercer competition, hotels need to employ a lean management principle and make decisions based on long-term perspectives, which makes introducing green technology the foreseeable choice.