All businesses are different. They all have their challenges depending on the type of industry they serve, but the hospitality industry can be very volatile. Whilst most businesses close at the end of the day, most hotel and guest houses remain open for business.
Due to this, it’s important for hotels, and other businesses that are part of the hospitality sector, to prioritise energy saving, as their longer opening hours can cause significantly high utility bills.
Additionally, eco-friendly and efficient policies are also no longer viewed as “nice to have” with ambitious climate change targets and consumers becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. Businesses must therefore aim to be more eco-friendly to help the environment and maintain a creditable reputation.
In this guide, we’ll take you through how you can make your hotel or hospitality business more energy-efficient and provide you with tips on how to improve hotel energy management.
How much energy do hotels use?
With energy costs exceeding 1.3 billion per year, hotels are ranked in the top 5 for energy consumption within the tertiary building sector. These costs not only account for the energy consumed in the guest rooms but also the energy used in accompanying restaurants, bars and gyms.
Electricity costs alone can account for 10% of the total running costs of a typical hotel or guest house. Throw energy waste into the mix and hospitality running costs can become extremely expensive, especially if the hotel is a grade II listed building which requires extra heat.
Hotels produce approximately 289,700 tonnes of waste each year, including 79,000 tonnes of food waste, according to wrap.org.
In the past, it has been suggested that businesses such as hotels have failed to manage their energy and finances appropriately, which ultimately affects their profits.
Here are a few common issues within hotels that affect their energy efficiency:
- Lack of insulation (wall and cavity)
- Poor fitting/bad condition windows
- Lack of modern central heating systems (and no underfloor heating)
- Victorian style bathrooms, toilets and fireplaces
- No LED lighting
- Unsuitable energy tariffs
How can you increase energy efficiency in a hotel?
Improving your energy management can help you save and can also provide you with an opportunity to help the environment. Research has suggested that larger businesses like hotels could save over £250 million a year on their energy bills by reducing their energy consumption by just 1%.
Below we list 8 measures for increasing the energy efficiency in hotels:
1. Energy-efficient Lighting
Switching to energy-efficient lightbulbs like LEDs (Light-Emitting Diodes) could help to reduce your hotel’s energy usage significantly. These energy-saving alternatives use 90% less energy than standard lightbulbs and could therefore help to reduce your utility bills.
2. Energy-efficient appliances
It’s important to ensure that the appliances within your hotel are efficient. Buying cheap fridges, washing machines and dryers may seem cost-effective at first, but they’ll only cost you more money in the long run. Investing in appliances with high efficiency ratings (A+++) will keep your energy consumption to a minimum and help to reduce your bills.
Furthermore, you should also encourage employees to use these appliances in an efficient manner in order to prevent energy wastage. For example, ensuring that they fully load the dishwashers and washing machines to get full use out of each cycle.
3. Occupancy Sensors
Pair your LEDs and energy-efficient appliances with occupancy sensors in your hotel rooms to ensure that energy isn’t being used unnecessarily. These devices ensure that lights and other devices are only turned on when someone is present in the room. Sensors aren’t typically expensive; they can cost as little as £20 and save you up to 30-50% on your lighting electricity spend.
Additionally, sensors often come with options that allow you to choose the length of time you’d like the lights to stay on after detecting movement, and brightness settings for when they do come on – so you can set it to follow the atmosphere of your hotel or B&B.
4. Heat spaces efficiently
Heating can account for 40% of a hotel’s energy bill. It’s therefore essential that you heat your spaces efficiently in order to cut costs. Ensuring that you have an A-rated boiler and setting your temperatures to the lowest comfortable degree can help to reduce your energy usage.
Monitoring the temperatures in your rooms can be difficult as guests can usually set their own desired temperatures, but ensuring that settings are at a comfortable yet efficient degree (such as 21°C) could reduce the likeliness of occupants making changes.
A lack of insulation is a common issue that affects hotel energy-efficiency. Investing in wall, roof, and floor insulation for your hotel will help to keep heat within the premises and reduce the amount of energy needed from your heating.
6. Invest in smart devices
Purchasing devices such as smart meters and smart thermostats will help you monitor your energy usage and provide you with greater control over your consumption levels. Using these devices can help with your energy management; you can review your usage and identify opportunities for saving.
7. Water efficiency
Being efficient with water is also important if you aim to reduce your utility bills. A big chunk of your heating bill is likely to go towards heating the water in your hotel. Ensuring that the taps within bathrooms and kitchens don’t drip and fitting them with aerators can help to reduce water wastage. Likewise, fitting energy-efficient shower heads in guest rooms can also help to reduce both heating and water costs.
8. Switch energy suppliers
Making your hotel more energy-efficient will have minimum effect on your utility bills if you’re on the wrong tariff. Switching to a new supplier and tariff can ensure that you have the best deal for your business’ needs. Here at Love Energy Savings, we can help you find a cheaper tariff for your hotel; all you have to do is use our quick and easy energy comparison tool and in a matter of minutes you’ll be provided with a range of energy quotes from various suppliers.
How can you make a hotel more eco-friendly?
Energy management is not just about your business’ energy usage, it is also concerned with how eco-friendly your establishment is and what you are doing to help the environment. As well as helping the earth, this can also improve your reputation.
Below we list some measures that can help you make your hotel more eco-friendly:
1. Replace the disposable with the durable
Hotels tend to have a lot of disposables. For example, single-use toiletry shampoos, soap and shower gel bottles. Swapping these with refillable dispensers is both an eco-friendly and cost-effective option, plus you can buy them in bulk. Through switching to refillable dispensers, you can gain a return on investment through purchasing latherables in big containers rather than lots of little bottles. You could also swap plastics cups with glasses or ceramic alternatives.
2. Invest in recycle bins
Recycling is a big part of eco-friendliness and luckily, it’s pretty simple to do! Placing recycle bins throughout your hotel is a visual demonstration of your business’ commitment to being green. It can get guests involved in your eco-friendly initiative and it could also save you money on waste disposal if you regularly send a lot of waste to the landfill.
3. Recycle food waste
You could take a leaf out of Disney World’s book and recycle all food waste from each of your hotel’s restaurants to generate energy for yourself. Granted, this is a more practical option when your establishment is situated close to a biogas plant, but it could save you money on heating.
4. Install solar panels
Solar panels in the UK can operate under the Government’s Feed-In Tariff Scheme, which means that you could get paid hundreds of pounds by the grid for the energy that you generate whilst also reducing your carbon footprint. There are online calculators that can work out what your payout would be.
5. Get staff and guests involved
Increasing your hotel’s eco-friendliness will be a group task that requires commitment from all your employees and even your guests. You should make your business’ eco-friendly goals clear to everyone who enters the premises, with signs and instructions on how they can help. Creating weekly and monthly reports for staff to monitor the progress and impact of eco-friendliness can help to keep them engaged; you could also include incentives.