Energy Management Strategy: Reviewing (Part 1)

With energy prices looking set to continue to rise, reducing unnecessary energy costs has never been more important. In this three part series, Chris George – head of energy and environment at Whitbread, parent group of Premier Inn – takes a look at the importance of this process.

Reviewing your energy management strategy

Understanding how your business is performing, or underperforming, in an area is the only way to make change and ensure a positive impact on your business. That is why a review of your energy strategy is vital. Reviewing the use of energy within your hotel not only provides the opportunity to identify where money can be saved by the business but an improved energy strategy can also enhance the corporate reputation of your brand through reducing your carbon footprint and your impact on the environment. Auditing your use of water, gas and electricity, as well as gaining a detailed understanding of your employees’ and customers’ knowledge of energy consumption will enable you to establish an improved strategy, yielding numerous benefits.

Water

Water is a precious resource and by 2030 demand for water is expected to exceed supply by 40%. In our industry water can account for up to 20% of hotel utility bills and so taking steps to reduce your water consumption not only positively contributes to your environmental impact, but also significantly reduces the cost of your bills.

As part of the in depth review of your hotel’s water consumption, it is important to assess where the biggest outgoings are and where reductions can be made. It is useful to calculate the amount of water used in each guest room, on average, per night. At this stage, you can then compare this to industry best practice and establish your own achievable targets, which will act as a driver towards improving your hotel’s water management.

Gas and electricity

The Carbon Trust estimates that 25% of an organisation’s electricity costs come from lighting and so it is crucial to evaluate this within your hotel.

After auditing our use of lighting at Premier Inn, we implemented new LED lighting, which have, to date, saved £1.5 million, which demonstrates the effectiveness of a simple swap.

60% of total energy costs can be derived from heating and hot water. This is a resource used by both employees and guests and so while the types of energy may need to be reviewed, so may the level of consumption.

Is your insulation effective? If not making a few simple changes and assessing the insulation around windows and pipes can make a real difference. Additionally, consider when you last had your boiler serviced and make plans to carry out a service on an annual basis to ensure the system is as efficient as possible.

People

It is not just a review of mechanisms and fuel that is vital to improving your energy management strategy; assessing the knowledge of the people most regularly using your hotel’s energy, the employees and guests is essential. It is important to establish what level of understanding both employees and guests have regarding the use of energy in your hotel: there is no point installing a new control system if your guests and employees do not know how to use it. Carrying out a survey to gauge how much energy employees and guests believe the hotel uses, how they think this can be saved and what effects they feel this will have on the business could be one way to do this. Measures can then be taken to ensure that your employees are able to educate your guests about the benefits of reducing energy use and offer practical advice on how to do this.

Taking the time to review the energy use in your hotel will save you time and money in the long term. It will enable your business to lay the foundations for an improved energy management strategy for the future.

NOTE: read the next part of this series here.

About Chris George: As Head of Energy and Environment at Whitbread Group, Chris has been the driving force in developing the company’s corporate position on energy, carbon, water, waste & environment strategy, implementing training engagement campaigns, as well as supporting the UK’s first budget green hotel and restaurants sustainable build projects. Chris is very interested in CSR, sustainability and carbon custody within supply chains, water and waste strategy and sustainable construction. He also leads Whitbreads energy optimisation and carbon reduction investment programmes.
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