Plan Your Way to Long-Term Energy Cost Savings

By Steve Kiesner Director of National Accounts, Edison Electric Institute | May 04, 2010

Last winter's high natural gas prices may make seem like a distant memory now, but you should think about your hotel's energy use as a regular and year-round cost to control, just like all your other variable costs. Every dollar you save on energy will go straight to the bottom line, giving you more resources for use elsewhere.

The U.S. lodging industry today spends close to $4 billion on energy every year. If hotels could improve their energy performance by an average of 30 percent, the hotel industry's annual electricity bill savings alone would be nearly $1.5 billion, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This would represent a savings of approximately $365 per available room night per year for every hotel room in the country.

But where do you start? An excellent local resource to guide you is your electric utility company. They can help, often for little or no cost. Your utility representative will likely have historical data about energy use in your business. The local electric can be also help you with answers about electric utility incentive programs, discount electricity rates, energy-efficient equipment, or any other energy-related question. Call them or visit their Website. For a list of energy assistance programs around the country, use this link:

To begin taking charge of your energy use, start by making a plan. Edison Electric Institute, on behalf of the nation's electric utility companies, offers you the following steps to help you plan how to get the most use from every energy dollar.

You must first build a team. Generally, you will need representatives from management or administration. Top-level commitment is paramount. Pull the team together for a planning session and start laying the groundwork. The team will need to define success with goals that are realistic. Is saying you want to save 10 percent over two years possible? What is the base you will measure against? How and when will the measurement be made?

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.