Energy Management Strategy: Planning (Part 2)

The second of this three part series on energy management in the hotel business discusses the importance of the planning stage and the difference that research can make. Chris George – head of energy and environment at Whitbread, parent group of Premier Inn – explores this process.

Planning to change your energy management strategy

The first stage of creating a new energy management strategy was the review stage, which is vital to finding the flaws in your current infrastructure. Following this, it is important to learn from your findings and create a new plan that will reduce your carbon footprint and save money for the business. At this stage, research is vital and I would advise gaining as much information on the options available as possible in order to make well-informed choices at the implementation stage. Looking at best practice examples in the industry will help you to set targets and achieve your goals.

Water

Once you have reviewed the use of water within your hotel you will be able to establish the areas where significant savings can be made. Are the showerheads you have selected wasting water unnecessarily? Would a dual flush setting on the toilets give guests the option to use less water when possible? Looking at examples of businesses that have been credited for their use of water – by winning awards for example – can be useful during this stage and gives an idea of what can be achieved by the changes you plan to make.

At Premier Inn, we saw that water was being wasted in our showers and explored different options to address this. As a result, we replaced the previous showerheads in our guests rooms with low flow restrictor showerheads that reduce flow rates by up to eight litres a minute.

Gas and electricity

During the planning stage, it is important that you set ambitious but achievable goals for your business. At Whitbread, our target by 2017 is to reduce the energy consumption of our buildings and sites by 70% over a 2009 baseline, and we have taken a number of steps to ensure that this target will be achieved.

Following the review of your gas and electricity consumption, set targets and formulate a plan to ensure that these are met. If the findings indicate insufficient insulation in your building, research what changes you can make to this and set a goal to ensure that you make these savings. In order to reach our target, we found that improved insulation of our estate would make a big difference. We decided to install super high insulation in our buildings and to date this has saved around 20% per site on gas usage.

People

It was important to gain an understanding of the perceptions and behaviours that employees and guests have towards the use of energy within your hotel during the review stage. Now in the planning stage, you can consider the best ways to educate those most frequently using your hotel about the benefits of reducing energy.

Supplying employees with practical, real-life examples can make it easier for them to understand their impact. Such examples will also help them to educate guests, putting your strategy into practice on a daily basis.

Following successful planning comes the implementation stage. This will allow you to put the research from this stage and findings from the first review stage into practice as you create a new strategy to benefit your business.

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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