Plan Your Way Toward Low-Tech Energy Savings
By Steve Kiesner Director of National Accounts, Edison Electric Institute | May 04, 2010
A business buzzword at the moment is sustainability-or operating with concern for the planet's natural resources, so that future generations will be able to meet their needs. As interest in sustainability grows, so too does the importance of using energy more efficiently. Getting more use from every dollar you spend on energy will help to lower the nation's greenhouse gas emissions and improve its air quality. It will, of course, also create significant opportunity for saving money.
In the hotel industry, energy typically accounts for three to five percent of total operating expenses. By becoming more energy efficient, you can lower your operating costs, which will create money to spend on guest amenities, on staff salaries, or on other vital areas.
Too often, though, the goal of becoming more energy efficient is seen as something that can only be reached through large capital expenditures. But in reality, there are many no- and low-cost steps that your company can start taking today to use its energy more wisely. And in doing so, you can lower your energy bill by 10 percent or more. Spending more to save more is always a good idea, but you do not have to put off becoming more energy efficient.
To realize what I call these low-tech energy savings, you need to follow three simple steps:
To get started and organized for success, you must build a team. Ideally, the team should be a task force of several people from various departments within the organization. Key groups are housekeeping and the kitchen staff. Little things they can do, such as resetting thermostats and closing drapes, or turning off lights and appliances that are not needed-will add up to make a big difference in energy costs.
Pull the team together for a planning session and start laying the groundwork. The easiest and least expensive way to identify and evaluate where to start making energy-saving improvements is by having your team conduct a 'walk-through' energy audit. You can find significant energy-saving opportunities this way. The decisions your employees make regarding lighting, heating and cooling, and other appliance use have a major effect on how energy is used in your hotel. The walk-through audit pays particular attention to identifying habits and procedures that can be adopted to use energy more efficiently.