Published on 2 March 2012

The Carbon Trust: Employee Engagement for a Greener Business

Phil Benson explains how the Carbon Trust can help save hoteliers money and improve their employee engagement.

Hoteliers are always looking for new ways they can save their businesses money and doing so in a sustainable and eco-friendly way is currently high on the agenda. The Carbon Trust, which is a UK government backed agency, has launched an online tool, which could encourage employees to help save their organisations up to £500 million in energy costs.

‘Empower’ is an online instrument that will allow hotel staff to take an animated virtual tour of a typical workplace, highlighting areas and suggesting tips for when energy can easily be saved. These can span all areas of the business from turning lights off in areas that are not used frequently to reception and the offices printing double-sided on paper.

Simple things like turning lights off when there is enough daylight to light areas can save £10 per employee a year and even turning the heating down by 1C will save around £5.

Carbon Trust: Reducing Operating Costs

The Carbon Trust believes that using the Empower tool can typically save a small business more than 15 per cent on their energy bill every year, which equates to around £6,000. Larger organisations could save as much as £150,000 and over 500 tonnes of CO2 each year. For hotel chains with multiple sites, this saving could escalate further.

“Companies often struggle to harness the huge energy savings that an effectively engaged workforce can help to deliver,” said Richard Rugg, Head of Carbon Trust Programmes. “By creating a virtual tour entirely from an employee’s viewpoint, every aspect of Empower has been designed with the end-user in mind.”

Employee Engagement

Trying to engage staff in energy efficiency schemes is not a new idea and yet it is still rarely done to maximum effect. One of the biggest difficulties is to make the actions tangible and interesting to ensure that they are sustained over a long period. If a member of staff can see that their individual efforts can add up to make a bigger difference for the organisation and environment, they are more likely to help achieve the goals.

The Empower tool is currently being tested by Whitbread, which has a number of hotels across the UK. They have a clear target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 26 per cent by 2020 and have been keen to explore how this online instrument can be used as a learning platform to help staff members recognise how they can work to help reduce energy consumption within their specific area of a hotel.

The benefits of Empower can also be demonstrated to wider business that the use of energy can be reduced, which will not only cut carbon emissions, but also save money and bring real commercial benefits to the bottom line.

Being able to get staff on board to think more green and find sustainable solutions is a cost-effective way in helping to reduce the energy consumption of a hotel and save money. This is crucial during economically straightened times.

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