Energy Management Strategy: Implementation (Part 3)

In the final part of this series on hotel energy management strategies, Chris George – head of energy and environment at Whitbread – takes a look at the importance of implementing changes within your business and discusses the benefits these changes can bring.

Implementing your new energy management strategy

The final part of this process, the implementation stage, is the most exciting. It is here that you will begin to put your findings from the review stage and research from the planning stage into practice and make changes that will benefit your business. Implementing the plans that you have developed in the previous months may take time but ultimately, the savings made will be worth it.

Water

Equipped with the knowledge to make positive changes to your water management, you will now be able to implement a new strategy. Retrofitting showers will not take long compared to making larger changes to your infrastructure, such as installing grey water recycling systems, and each will bring about different benefits.

An important consideration is the upfront capital expenditure, which will inevitably have to be made for installing new systems or for additional labour costs. In addition, some rooms might need to be closed during this time and you may have to prepare for some loss of revenue. However, there will be significant financial and reputational rewards from implementing this strategy in the long term.

At Premier Inn, we have taken both small and large steps in the implementation of our strategy. We have saved £180,000 by fixing leaks across our estate and by swapping taps that wasted water for low flow water efficient models; we are saving, on average, five litres a minute.

Gas and electricity

Gas and electricity are used widely across a hotel’s estate, from lighting the building, to heating guest rooms and cooking meals. In order to attain the goals you set during the planning stage, it is vital that you now implement an effective strategy for managing the use of gas and electricity within your business as this is an area where some of the biggest savings can be made.

Refitting a kitchen with more sustainable equipment may be disruptive in the short term but the long-term benefit will be significant. If disruptive work is difficult, prioritising simple, but effective, swaps, such as changing light bulbs might be the best initial step of implementation. After identifying our lighting as an area in which we could save electricity, we replaced 80,000 energy inefficient bulbs with LED lamps saving £1.5m and 7,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

People

Now that you have given your team the tools to educate your guests about the energy use within your hotel, it is time to ensure that this knowledge is put into practice. This part of the process may be the most complicated because changing attitudes and behaviours takes time and effort. However, this is one of the most vital stages of the process and will ensure that your strategy is continually put into practice.

Behavioural change tools, such as environmental training and simple staff newsletters, are a great way to ensure that your employees remain conscious of their environmental impact and engaged with your strategy. We provide weekly energy savings tips for team members at Premier Inn and for our guests we have launched the “Green, Greener” campaign, to encourage guests to enjoy a greener stay.

Ensuring that you review, plan and finally implement an enhanced energy management strategy in your hotel will benefit your business. From financial savings to an improved corporate reputation, a new energy management strategy is worth the upfront investment because you will enjoy the returns of an energy management programme for the future.

NOTE: read all three parts 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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