There are some great examples in the energy intensive hotel sector of eco awareness that can translate to households and other businesses, writes Guest Blogger Mark Sait.
Clearly, it’s crucial that sustainability strategies do not impact on guest experience and satisfaction, which is why savings with style should be the guiding principle.
I touched upon this during the round-table session sponsored by Hansgrohe UK at the Independent Hotel Show (IHS) which brought together four experts to discuss important aspects of hotel bathrooms, chaired by Grahame Morrison.
I wanted to share more detail about the great potential for every hotel property because the eco agenda can and should extend beyond the bathroom to cover all areas, including back-of-house areas, such as kitchens.
In my experience, the all-embracing approach to sustainability pays the best dividends, focusing on water management, lighting, heating & ventilation (HVAC), intelligent controls and smart pumps. Here, I can focus on water and lighting.
The panel at the IHS agreed that water saving can be the hidden jewel of sustainability projects because water conservation is not a part of the national carbon reduction programmes and so does not attract the same amount of attention as electricity and gas utilities.
But efficient water management is an important contribution to cutting bills while reducing carbon emissions. We can forget that the water supply consumes energy through heating and pumping so by substantially reducing usage, hotels can make a big difference to the bottom line and their carbon emissions.
Fitting well designed eco showers, eco taps or tap aerators in guest bathrooms is a twin win, improving the aesthetics and cutting water use.
Groups like The Hotel Collection can bear witness to the dramatic benefits of sustainable water management, where eco showers and taps in the bathrooms and kitchens delivered savings of more than £100,000 in less than eight months, with a project spend of £65,000.
The water savings continue to boost the bottom line month after month as water flow rates have dropped from 19 litres per minute to 8 lpm – with no negative feedback received from guests.
Beyond water, every hotel bathroom and kitchen should have the most efficient lighting available. That’s where it can get tricky – energy-saving lighting is a minefield, as some properties have learned from harsh experience.
Not all LED lighting products are brilliant – and we’ve probably all seen the awful blue tinge and harsh light or flicker in some LED installations. Natural LED light that easily matches the best halogen quality is now available. In fact, it’s been developed by the inventor of the blue LED, who has just won the Nobel Prize for Physics. His company, Soraa, has definitely raised the bar for energy-efficient, beautiful lighting.
Leading properties like The Grove in Hertfordshire have found the right energy-saving solution for the kitchens, and guest rooms, by choosing their LED lighting solutions carefully. Quality and matching the lighting design were crucial for the luxury hotel, as well as improving working conditions.
Carlson Rezidor’s Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson properties in UK have been very proactive in responding to the global company’s Think Planet initiative which has an ambitious target to reduce water and energy consumptionacross the group’s portfolio by 25 per cent over a four-year period to 2016.
Focussing on LED lighting retrofits and water efficient solutions in bathrooms and kitchens, the UK properties have achieved substantial reductions in energy and water costs, with savings of more than £250,000 in a first phase alone.
Better water management goes hand in hand with a range of other utility efficiency improvements, from low-energy LED lighting to smart lighting and heating controls that cut energy consumption, and reducing electricity use through smart pump solutions like Variable Speed Drives.
And the best thing is that these do not have a negative impact on guest experience. It is up to each hotel to decide whether to promote the green benefits in its marketing but I’ve seen that it is something that people check for more frequently now.
That could well be because consumers are actively seeking ways to cut their ever-increasing energy and water bills. The eco upgrades in hotel bathrooms and kitchens are a great guide for households that want to cut 80% or more from their lighting bills and reduce water use by more than 50%.
With the right solutions, that blend savings with style, every home can benefit by following the hotel sector’s lead.
Mark Sait is managing director of SaveMoneyCutCarbon.com, a full-service efficiency partner helping businesses and households reduce energy and water consumption, and cutting carbon emissions to improve sustainability.
(If you have a comment you would like to make about kitchen and bathroom retailing in the independent sector I would LOVE to hear from you! But before you rattle off 5000 words on your pet subject please click here to check out the Guest Blog section. You will save us both a lot of grief – and quite possibly save me a lengthy jail sentence too.)