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Energy efficiency measures could save hospitality sector millions of pounds

Hotels must pay more attention to their energy efficiency if they want to improve profits and avoid rising energy bills, say industry experts.

The hospitality industry uses a significant amount of power and water. By taking simple steps to cut back on usage - such as installing thermal insulation, using LED lighting and improving heating and ventilation controls - these businesses could cut costs and reduce their carbon footprints.

Paul Nisbett, finance community chair of HOSPA (the Hospitality Professionals Association for Finance, Revenue Management and IT), explains that many hotels have already started on projects to become more efficient - and the results have been dramatic. He says that hotels could save millions of pounds and any measures would quickly pay for themselves, reports Greenwise Business.

The Hotel Collection, a group of four-star hotels located across the UK, is a prime example of how small energy efficiency measures can make a big difference to a firm's environmental credentials, as well as its bottom line.

Mr Nisbett, who is also the chief financial officer of The Hotel Collection, says that the company has invested £300,000 in energy and water efficiency projects across its 21 hotels.

Thanks to these installations, the group now expects to save £360,000 a year - that's £128 for each of its 2,800 rooms. If the rest of the UK's hotels were able to achieve just half of that across their 600,000 rooms, Mr Nisbett says it would save the industry more than £38 million every year and help the UK meet its carbon targets.

Improving energy efficiency can also offer other advantages to companies in the hospitality industry. Since so many customers these days are aware of environmental issues, they are becoming much more discerning about the eco credentials of the firms they deal with. "Being energy efficient can enhance business's reputation and help to attract more customers," explains the Carbon Trust.

The Carbon Trust suggests that the hospitality industry focus on heating, lighting and energy management to improve energy efficiency.

Heating

Up to 60 per cent of energy loss could be due to inefficient heating systems, but there are some easy ways to cut out the waste.

  • Insulation - Ensuring that the building is properly insulated can make a huge difference to energy costs. Newer properties are likely to already have cavity wall insulation, but older properties can lose heat quickly - especially if they have solid walls.
  • Thermostats - Try turning down set points by just one degree to help cut costs and ensure that staff members are aware of what room temperatures should be.
  • Draught-proofing - Draughts can come in through gaps in windows and doors, and anywhere pipes or electrical supplies enter the buildling. Try to seal up any possible sources of draughts and replace weather seals on external doors.
  • Windows - Windows need to be double- or triple-glazed to keep in heat. Also consider lined curtains.
  • Boilers - The latest building regulations set minimum requirements for boiler efficiency ratings, and high-specification boilers can make a big difference to your energy bill.

Lighting

Around 25 per cent of an organisation's energy usage is used for lighting. The Carbon Trust recommends switching to LED lights, installing occupancy or daylight sensors and keeping windows clean to make the most of natural light.

Energy management

Encourage everyone across all levels of the company to do what they can to save energy. Appoint an energy manager, monitor energy use, train staff and develop an action plan.


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