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:

http://www.eei.org/industry_issues/retail_services_and_delivery/wise_energy_use/programs_and_incentives/progs.pdf

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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