ENERGY STAR: What Can This Rating Bring to Your Hotel?

By Jim Poad Director of Client Solutions, Advantage IQ | April 03, 2010

What is ENERGY STAR?

Just over 10 years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy created a joint program, ENERGY STAR®. It assists businesses in tracking energy consumption and protecting the environment through energy efficient products and practices. With this energy performance system, energy managers can benchmark the energy consumption of their buildings against similar buildings nationwide. The system, which uses a scaled rating of 1-100, evaluates several factors to make building performance comparisons as accurate as possible. Included are the impact weather differences have on energy demand and consumption, the physical building spaces, and the operating characteristics of each building.

The availability of a tool that conveys the effects of behaviors on energy use enables building operators to clearly demonstrate the need to focus on certain target areas at each site. Over time, behaviors can be influenced and changed as positive impacts are demonstrated through an improved rating. ENERGY STAR provides an easy-to-understand metric of energy performance, and encourages awareness through the publishing of case studies, annual awards, and access to the ENERGY STAR label for site recognition. Using the ENERGY STAR rating system as a first step to benchmark your facilities’ performance is a low-cost means to jump start an energy awareness program.

How can ENERGY STAR impact hotels?

According to ENERGY STAR, each year the hospitality industry spends over $7.5 billion on energy alone. Reducing energy consumption by just 10 percent across the industry could help reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 6 million tons. Research reveals that tactical improvements in energy efficiency can reduce energy spending by 10 to 30 percent, without forfeiting service, quality, or luxury.

The hospitality industry is well served by a common energy metric because it enables them to benchmark and track energy usage across multiple sites. Benchmarking energy use is a first step in the process of assessing energy performance and measuring ongoing progress towards established goals. Once rated, hospitality facility managers can track changes and differences at each site, letting them consider the necessary modifications to improve energy consumption. ENERGY STAR is a low-cost benchmarking tool that offers a clear-cut way to understand and communicate how a hotel’s performance is measuring up to others.

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Coming up in May 2018...

Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.