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HOTELS magazine – October 2018

November 2, 2018

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Xenia zu Hohenlohe

How hotels can help fight carbon emissions

In a new assessment on global warming published recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on October 8, the panel said limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.

The bad news: These changes will also affect the hotel industry in two key aspects:

Hotels are buildings, and it has been calculated that 30% of the global annual COemissions stem from buildings simply through energy consumption.

As an industry, tourism accounts for 8% of annual global CO2 emissions, most of which is attributed to transport, i.e., a guest’s travel, as much as the delivery of products to a hotel or resort, staff transport, and emissions attributed to products consumed at a hotel.

The good news: There are many ways a hotel can substantially reduce its contribution to global carbon emissions. There is a carbon footprint industry benchmark, based on the methodology of the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI), with the accepted standard for the hospitality industry being 31.1kg CO2 per room night.

Here are a few approaches that are relatively easy to adapt and integrate in a hotel, without costing the world, to help reduce CO2 emissions:

Energy production and supply

Renegotiate all your energy contracts to make sure that as much of the energy used at your hotel as possible comes from renewable sources.

Have your property assessed to see whether you could install sources for renewable energy (e.g. solar, geothermal, biomass, etc.). There are many models for financing these investments nowadays, such as ESCO (Energy Saving Company Offerings), which usually present an ROI of three to five years based on the savings in energy costs. Even batteries for the storage of self-produced energy have become more efficient and allow for night-time consumption to be covered as well.

Monitor your energy consumption through a data monitoring system. Only what you monitor can you manage and ultimately reduce. This also helps you identify areas where you use the most energy.

Have your building management system readjusted, as often pre-set settings cannot respond to changes and fluctuations in outside temperatures or even in occupancy.

Avoid heating or cooling areas and rooms in your hotel that are not in use. Ensure that your reservation team assigns only those rooms which the engineer agrees to when you are in low season.

Train your staff constantly on energy efficient behaviour.

As you will see in some of the following case studies, massive savings on CO2 and costs can be achieved by simply re-thinking daily routines.

Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant

Northumberland, United Kingdom

The award-winning eco-hotel is setting the standard for energy saving and environmental responsibility in hotels, after recording a carbon footprint five times lower than the industry average.

The hotel has been tracking its energy usage and carbon footprint since 2012, and in that time has reduced its carbon footprint from 24.64kg CO2 per room night to just 5.85kg CO2 per room night in 2017.

Battlesteads owner Richard Slade said: “Since switching to a 100% green energy supplier Ecotricity in January 2014, we’ve been able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint despite increasing our occupancy. Initiatives such as having a biomass boiler, producing solar energy on-site, being very selective with our suppliers and constantly looking for new ways to save energy are helping us to pave the way for a new generation of environmentally conscious, sustainable hotels.”

The software Battlesteads uses to record carbon footprint is designed specifically for the hospitality industry to help businesses monitor, interpret and improve their environmental performance, while tracking progress of any initiatives introduced to improve eco-friendliness.

Edwardian Hotels

United Kingdom


The London Hotel Group has been using carbon-tracking software for two years for all of its 4- and 5-start 12 properties. It organized a workshop for all engineers on the best use of the software with monitoring results over a four-month period to further increase savings on cost and consumption.


Paddington Business Improvement District (BID)

Air quality is one of the biggest issues London faces, and hotels are the third-biggest polluters after cars and buildings. To address the problem, the PaddingtonNow BID and Considerate Hoteliers have joined forces to deliver a new innovative project for hotels within the district, to improve air quality and achieve cost savings.

By Xenia zu Hohenlohe, Founder & Managing Partner at Considerate Hoteliers.

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