Reducing energy consumption in hospitality


23 Mar 2015 15 May 2017

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In recent years the environmental issues and energy saving methods have become increasingly important towards tourism and hospitality industry. Hotel energy consumption depends on various factors such as geographical location, size, class, equipments, occupancy and age of facilities. In this report it includes the methods of reducing energy consumption in hotels at a management level, followed by current legislations towards controlling environmental issues, in addition it shows how the building design and structure of hotels can help with environmental issues.

How energy consumption can be reduced on a management level

In order to build up an efficient energy system the hotels should, re think, re-use, reduce, recycle, recover and rationalise the resources. In fact those practices should be followed in every single department throughout the organisation. Such as housekeeping, food and beverage, maintenance, room division, front office should participate individually towards energy consumption process. Below are the actions that should be taken, in order to build a healthy and energy efficient environment.

Employees' contribution

  • One major step towards reducing energy consumption is to plan a staff awareness programme throughout every department, it is important because their daily contact with guests gives them the opportunity to increase the awareness of the guests.
  • Include the environmental messages on gifts (such as mugs) to employees.
  • Encourage staff to switch off lights and switch off unnecessary equipments (computers, air conditioners) when leaving staff rooms.
  • Get staff ideas about energy conversation methods and environmental issues in staff meetings. (
  • Allocate coordinators towards environmental activities.
  • Allocate designated members of staff who will be responsible for daily monitoring water/gas/electricity consumption. Furthermore the hotel can fix separate consumption meters in each department in order to have a better view and control of energy.

For an example, it should be daily practise with all employees of the hotel to switch off all lights when leaving an empty room. At the end of a working day, all unused office appliances should be turned off at mains and not to be left on standby. Furthermore providing computers, printers with a power down features can reduce 60% energy than regular electronic equipments. On top of that encourage staff to use emails where possible instead of printing. (

Gaining Guests contribution

  • Send an environmental message with reservation conformation messages.
  • When guest check-in and check-out take couple of minutes to educate the guest about the hotels environmental effort.
  • Leaving placards in guest rooms can save the use of unnecessary energy. This can encourage the guests to reuse their towels and bed sheets.

"Bed sheets washed every day in thousand of hotels in this world millions of gallons of water, electricity and tons of detergent. Sheets are customarily changed between guests. If you feel that your sheets need to be changed daily, please leave this card on your pillow each morning. Housekeeping will be pleased to accommodate you. PLEASE DECIDE YOURSELF"

"Every day millions of gallons of water, electricity and tons of detergent is used to wash towels that have been used only once, A towel o the rack means I'll use it again, a towel o the floor or in the tub means please exchange. PLEASE DECIDE YOURSELF" (

  • Encourage the guest to switch off unnecessary electric items such as air conditioner, and use natural ventilation instead.
  • Place recycle bins in guest rooms and hallways.
  • Allow the guests to contribute an extra pound (£) towards a local environmental group. (Georgia hospitality environmental partnaship.1996)

Lightning efficiency

  • By replacing the excising bulbs with low energy consumption ones (florescent light bulbs), offers savings in energy costs. On top of that those bulbs have a longer life span than the ordinary light bulbs.
  • Fix light reflectors that direct more light into the room.
  • Using motion detectors for public area lighting (lobby), staff rest rooms, walk-in cooers and storage area can keep the unnecessary lights switched off. (
  • Install photovoltaic lighting systems (Georgia hospitality environmental partnaship.1996) for advertising signs, walkways, water fountains and remote outdoor areas.
  • Use solar lamps in order to lighten the hotel garden area.
  • Further by installing daylight sensors for garden area and other exterior lightning can save a massive load of energy consumption. (

Use of Air conditioners (A/C)

  • When the A/C competes with hot or cold air more energy is wasted. So do not cool more than necessary.
  • Install timers and sensors in order reduce energy waste.
  • Turn off the A/C when the weather is cooler.
  • Close air gaps around doors and windows, and close all the unnecessary openings.
  • Use higher energy efficiency rating equipments.
  • Compare efficiency between gas and electric A/C equipments.
  • Have the units checked yearly; spring is the best time before starting the heavy use in summer.
  • Minimise the available heat sources (Below are methods to reduce heat sources)

(My Ton.1996)

Minimising heat sources

  • Turn off lights and other heat producing sources that is not in use.
  • Position heat producing sources such as lamps, television away from the thermostats.
  • Cover windows (especially west and south facing) to reduce the heat
  • Use window film to reduce the heat sources heading in to the rooms.
  • Install timers and sensors for lights and other necessary electric equipments.

(My Ton.1996)

Reducing water consumption

  • Provide Dual flush toilets to save water.
  • Provide separate walk-in showers in order to encourage the guests to have a shower instead a bath; this saves both water and energy.
  • Keep a good maintenance on the plumbing system, fix any drips as soon as possible (
  • Introduce dish washing machines and laundry machines which use final rinse water for prewash of next load.
  • Use of a food thawing machine instead of running water for faster thawing.

(Georgia hospitality environmental partnaship.1996)

  • Adapt the hotel water system to be able to re-use the water for gardening and other non-drinking purpose. (One Source.2009)

Other general operations and actions

  • By lowering the thermostat temperature by 2 degrees in the winter or raising it by 2 in the summer you will save a lot of energy. This is a technique used in many organisations in order to save without even noticing the change of temperature. (Keynote.2008)
  • Review and update the hotel's preventative maintenance in order to maintain standards which help the system to sustain the system efficiently. (
  • Change all individual amenities in the guest bathrooms to automatic dispensers of eco-friendly products; these can be refilled upon usage. (
  • Re use the heat and steam of the kitchen and laundry to be re-used for public heating
  • Calculate the energy usage and assess it against available industry benchmarks in terms of per guest night or CO2 (carbon dioxide) generated. (

Below it shows actions taken by some of the hotels in United Kingdom, in order to be an eco friendly property.

'Derwentwater Hotel, Keswick' has been following eco friendly prospectors and has been one of the greenest hotel in United Kingdom. They have introduced water saving measures, energy saving measures and waste reduction methods by gaining support from staff, guests and the local communities. (Georgia hospitality environmental partnaship.1996)

"Also, Radisson - Edinburgh has replaced their ordinary light bulbs to energy - efficient lights at a cost of $2,307, as a result the first year savings were $27,889". ( this is a perfect example towards energy conservation, it clearly shows although it costs in order to take action, at the end of the process it save more than 10 times of the cost.

According to 'environmental leader (2009)' reports Hilton has announced their sustainability targets to reach by 2014, which includes the following,

  • Reducing energy consumption from direct operations by 20 percent.
  • Reducing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions by 20 percent.
  • Reducing output of waste by 20 percent.
  • Reducing water consumption by 10 percent.

Hilton has already introduced carbon-free electricity in United Kingdom and Ireland, they say it reduce CO2 emission by more than 64,000 tons, or 56 percent of its carbon footprint. They also managed to reduce energy and water consumption by 10 percent over the last two years.

According to 'economically sound' reports Marriott hotels are planning to publish their environmental policies on the official website, and each hotel will list their eco friendly actions. They say this will encourage each hotel to discuss their specific environmental policies and share these with other individual hotels. This will encourage the whole hotel chain to be an environmental friendly property as an individual.

How Structure and the design of hotels can help with environmental issues

When planning the design and the structure of the building, the hotel can get help from government and private companies in order bring guidance and knowledge towards building an environmentally friendly building.

In terms of design the following steps can be taken,

  • Light or reflector roofs and exterior coatings can result an environment with a lower temperature.
  • Planting shade trees on the south side helps to keep the building cooler in warm climates. Also it provides the guests an attractive and enjoyable environment. (my ton.1996)
  • Install large windows and glass bricks in lobby and other public areas to maximise the use of natural light (
  • When designing guest rooms, installing thick curtains and carpets made with wool can retain the heat in order to conserve energy.
  • Painting the walls in light colours (such as white, green) can help to reduce the temperature of the rooms. Also by installing reflective mirrors with reflective wall paint can facilitate natural lightning.
  • Introduce water saving shower heads and sink faucet aerators, 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) shower heads and 1.5 GPM aerators are recommended for water saving and guest satisfaction. Because less water flow showerheads causes guest complains. (Georgia hospitality environmental partnaship.1996)
  • Design of the building should allow space for recycling, which encourages staff and guests to contribute towards the process.
  • Key card systems control lighting, heating and air coolers when room not in use. Because of Key cards the hotel can make sure there won't be any electricity waste on a vacant room. (
  • When positioning equipment such as refrigerators, in order to get the best performance should avoid it placing next to heat sources (cookers, Owen)
  • Adopt a water system that reuses the water for non-drinking purposes such as gardening purposes.

In terms of structure the following steps can be taken.

  • Thermostat should not be installed nearby heaters and other heat producing equipments, because this may calculate the building temperature incorrectly and increase the energy costs. (
  • Installing double or triple glazed windows will protect the heat sources inside the building. Furthermore proper insulation throughout the building will reduce energy consumption.
  • Installing solar energy system to retain heat from the sunlight and make it one and only source of energy for the hotel.
  • Use of timing devices on thermostats will control the energy produced by the radiators. In fact fitting reflective material behind radiators can reduce energy consumption. (
  • Placing gas, electricity and water meters in individual departments allows the organisation to examine energy consumption of each department which helps them to take actions on energy waste and provide necessary improvement.
  • When designing the structure of the building it should be in a way that invites natural light and air in to the building. (
  • A research done by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system in United States have proved when designing the structure of the building use of steel superstructure is estimated environmental friendly than using concrete superstructures. Below it shows the negative impacts of concrete.

A concrete superstructure would consume over three times more energy than a steel one.

A concrete superstructure would consume almost six times as much as natural resources than a steel one.

Production of a concrete superstructure would use more toxic than a steel superstructure.

A concrete superstructure would produce over four times solid waste as a steel one.

A steel superstructure is easier to recycle, producing more secondary useful product, than a concrete one.

A concrete superstructure would pollute air over five times than a steel one.

A steel superstructure would pollute water over three times than a concrete one.

A concrete superstructure would contribute to global warming almost seven times more than a steel one. (

Current legislations relating to environmental issues

  • Environmental Protection Act 1990
  • Environment Act 1995

Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency as the regulating bodies for contaminated land, abandoned mines, national parks, control of pollution, conservation of natural resources and conservation or enhancement of the environment.. (

  • Energy conservation act 1996

This act was introduced to make provisions for energy conservations, future to to allow local authorities to implement a strategy to achieve improvement in energy efficiency (

  • Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989 c.14

This act controls the methods of waste disposal with the Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Protection Agency and outlines the penalties (including seizure and disposal) for vehicles shown to have been used for illegal waste disposal. (

  • Clean air act 1993

The clean air act authorizes the local councils to control domestic and industrial smoke and allows them to create smoke control areas in order to improve the local air quality. (

  • Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 SI 3538

Introduces a new system for environmental permits for industrial activities and waste operations in England and Wales, including landfill and waste incineration, and sets out the powers, functions and duties of the regulator. (

  • Buildings Regulations 2000, SI 2531

Introduces requirements for builders to calculate and display energy ratings on new or altered buildings. (

  • Eco Design for Energy-using Products Regulations 2007 SI 2037

This regulation establishes a framework for setting eco design requirements for energy-using products. (

  • Water act 2003

This act was introduced to control the abstraction and impounding of water. It helps to protect the water resources throughout the country. (

  • Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 SI 991

This regulation issues energy performance certificates (to maintain energy efficient standards) when buildings are constructed in order to rent out or sell. (

  • EU Regulation on a Revised Community Eco-Label Award Scheme 1980/2000

This is an award scheme towards 'eco-label' to manufacturers who want to inform consumers about what they are doing to reduce the environmental impact of their products. (

  • List of Wastes (England) Regulations 2005 SI 895

This regulation provides the European Waste Catalogue list of codes used to classify wastes. (


Being an environmental friendly property means that they save electricity, water, reduce solid waste while saving money and creating a healthy environment to the guest, staff and the management. In order to become a green property the organisation should the gain contribution from every parties such as staff, guests, local communities, local councils and other environmental friendly organisation. As a result the organisation can gain respect towards the idea of conserving the environment.

From a business point of view this allows them to differentiate their products from rivals and attract more guests. Being a green property will not only gain guest respect, they will overlook at the hotel over the rivals. Further, by being environmental friendly the organisation can reduce costs on energy, water and waste, the money saved can be re invested in future development, research and staff incentives. This concept also leads towards staff satisfaction by building a pleasant, relaxed environment to work. Once the hotel adapts to environmentally friendly practices it will gain marketing opportunities and support by local media (magazines, newspapers and television programs). Also it allows the hotel to gain financial support and expertise form government organisations who helps green concepts. Furthermore all these efforts give an opportunity to achieve rewards and awards from hospitality bodies which the organisation can be proud of. The most important fact of all this whole process is that, it will contribute to protect our one and only earth.


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