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What do you get when you combine thousands of rooms, countless amenities, and round-the-clock guest services? A power-hungry hotel beast!
Brace yourself for the shocking reality of hotel energy use in the United States. From bright fluorescent lights that rival the sun to HVAC systems working overtime, hotels are notorious energy guzzlers.
However, many hotels are undergoing a rapid overhaul to meet customers’ desire for cleaner and more energy-efficient amenities. Innovative energy-saving measures can cut the carbon footprint of hotels and can seriously lower operational costs, all without affecting guest satisfaction. Plainly, it’s just good business. This article will explore eight practical eco strategies for hotels to save energy, enhance sustainability and inspire guests to participate.
Statistics on Average Energy Use Of Hotels In The United States:
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hotels in the United States spend an average of $2,196 per room per year on energy costs. That’s $183 per month for a single room, and when you compare that to the U.S. average energy bill for an entire house is $122 a month, you can see how much energy hotels truly consume. Fortunately, the EPA estimates that hotels can reduce energy costs by up to 30% through energy-saving measures. These significant savings positively reduce hotel energy consumption, attract eco-conscious customers, and reduce maintenance costs down the road.
- Last year, over 80% of consumers said they intend to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead. And this trend continues to grow.
- On average, hotels in the United States consume approximately 60 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of over 5 million homes.
- Lighting and HVAC systems typically account for nearly 60% of a hotel’s total energy usage, making these areas prime targets for energy-saving initiatives.
Where Does Hotel Energy Consumption Go?
So where does all that energy go? The Energy Star hotel report reveals the answer.
As you can see, lighting and HVAC comprise over 60% of hotel energy expenditure.
The Best Steps For Hotels To Save On Energy Consumption And Costs:
There are plenty of ways to reduce how much energy you use. Here are the most impactful and easiest methods for hotels to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Defrosting fridges.
- Close drapes in empty rooms.
- Using eco-safe cleaning products without harsh chemicals.
- Turning off lights and unplugging devices that pull from the power grid.
- Only laundering dirty sheets and towels – have a place guests can denote clean linens.
- Resetting thermostats to a minimum when guests check out of their room or regularly monitoring the central HVAC control.
1. Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Lighting:
The first step in reducing energy consumption is transitioning from traditional incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient LED lighting. According to Inspire Clean Energy, LED bulbs are highly cost-effective and energy-saving, consuming up to 80% less energy than their incandescent counterparts. Additionally, LED bulbs last 25 times longer, reducing maintenance costs and minimizing waste.
2. Implement Occupancy Sensors:
There’s nothing worse than paying for A/C, heating, and electricity in an unoccupied room. Optimizing energy usage in hotels is crucial, especially in guest rooms, hallways, and common areas. Installing occupancy sensors ensures that lights and HVAC systems automatically adjust when spaces are unoccupied. By integrating this technology, hotels can avoid unnecessary energy expenditure and create a seamless experience for guests.
3. Get Involved with The Better Buildings Program:
The Department of Energy sponsors this initiative. Their mission is to bring together organizations to share information and collaborate on energy-saving programs. With over 900 organizations involved, their members represent 1 in every 6 square feet of hospitality space in the whole country.
Another option is the Hotel Energy Solutions initiative. Created by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which promotes energy efficiency in the hotel sector. Their website offers practical tools, case studies, and best practices for hotels looking to reduce energy consumption and enhance sustainability.
4. Optimize Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems:
Maintaining HVAC systems in peak condition is essential for energy efficiency. Regular inspections, cleaning, and tune-ups ensure optimal performance, preventing energy waste due to system inefficiencies. Utilizing programmable thermostats and implementing proper insulation further enhances HVAC efficiency, saving hotels up to 30% on heating and cooling costs. Contact your local HVAC maintenance company for a free quote.
5. Efficient Water Management:
Hotels can make a significant impact on energy conservation by implementing water-saving practices. Encouraging guests to participate in linen and towel reuse programs reduces water consumption and minimizes the energy required for washing and drying. Installing water-saving fixtures like low-flow showerheads and faucets contributes to a sustainable water management system without compromising guest comfort.
6. Energy-Aware Housekeeping:
The housekeeping team plays an essential role in energy-saving efforts. By training staff members to be energy-conscious, hotels can ensure that lights, TVs, and other electronic devices are turned off when cleaning rooms and cleaning supplies are not wasted. Simple acts of switching off appliances and lights can accumulate substantial energy savings throughout the property.
Having a simple checklist for your team to review each room makes it easier for everyone. Include steps like:
7. Embrace Renewable Energy:
Hotels can make a remarkable stride towards sustainability by embracing renewable energy sources, such as solar power. Installing solar panels on rooftops or surrounding areas allows hotels to generate clean, renewable energy. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels, provides long-term cost savings, and strengthens the hotel’s commitment to sustainable practices.
8. Implement Smart Energy Management Systems:
Advanced energy management systems empower hotels to monitor and control energy usage in real-time. These systems identify areas of high energy consumption, optimize equipment settings, and provide data-driven insights for further energy-saving opportunities. Leveraging smart technology enables hotels to make informed decisions and adjust energy usage based on occupancy rates, weather conditions, and specific guest needs.
9. Set goals and a methodology to track and reward improvements:
New processes must have accountability and recognition to last. Implement a tracking and reward system, such as a team member energy Excel spreadsheet or energy scoreboard, to make it more inclusive and enjoyable for team members.
10. Educate Guests on Energy Conservation:
Engaging guests in energy-saving practices are pivotal for achieving sustainable outcomes. Displaying informative signage in guest rooms and public areas can raise awareness and encourage guests to participate in energy conservation efforts. By educating guests about simple actions like turning off lights when leaving the room or adjusting thermostat settings, hotels empower their visitors to contribute to a greener future.
11. (PRO TIP): Integrate your operations systems into one energy-monitoring platform:
Hotel operators must constantly navigate a mix of new and old systems. Yet, with the ever-changing tech landscape and customer expectations, even recent systems may soon be outdated. Implementing a master systems integrator fixes this issue.
This system effortlessly combines traditional HVAC, lighting, and access control with modern technology like IoT sensors and cloud-based APIs integrated with tenant experience apps. Once connected, AI platforms, like onPOINT, collect, organize, and analyze data to produce actionable insights and expand system capabilities. Visit buildingsiot.com for more information on advanced energy-saving technology systems.
What Can Hotel Guests Do To Use Less Energy?
Hotel guests have the power to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing their energy consumption during their stay.
Here are some simple suggestions you can implement on your next trip:
- Use technology wisely by adjusting room controls and utilizing energy-saving settings.
- Be mindful of leaving lights and electronics on when not needed.
- Take advantage of natural light and moderate thermostat settings.
- Participate in linen and towel reuse programs to minimize water and energy usage.
- Support eco-friendly hotel initiatives by asking at the front desk or viewing your hotel’s website for more information.
- Consider sustainable transportation options like bicycles, buses, or ride shares.
By following these tips, guests can enjoy a comfortable stay while playing their part in creating a greener and more sustainable hospitality industry.
Takeaways On How Hotels And Guests Can Reduce Their Energy Use and Costs:
By implementing these eight energy-saving strategies, hotels can significantly reduce energy expenditure, lower operational costs, and promote sustainability. Along with the financial benefits, embracing energy efficiency initiatives showcases a commitment to environmental stewardship, which can enhance a hotel’s reputation and attract eco-conscious guests.
The battle against climate change will require all of us to do our part. By prioritizing energy-saving tips for hotels, the hospitality industry can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for all.
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