In Greening Your Hotel, Every Department Plays a Role
By Brent Burton President & Founder, Burton Energy Group | May 26, 2013
It's a real pleasure for guests to spend time in a well-run hotel. From the greeting at the front door, to the efficiency of the people behind the front desk, to your nice clean room and a place to eat and drink, sometimes it's not as good as home – it's better. It takes a real commitment to operating excellence to achieve that guest experience. Think about it – your hotel runs 24 hours a day, and of course you have to make sure everything run smoothly in rooms, meeting areas, restaurants and bars, in fitness centers and pools. All of that without even mentioning the areas that most guests never see but rely on like the laundry facility that cleans their sheets and towels and the mechanical rooms that heat and cool the property.
So with all of that to worry about, where does a hotel turn to pursue energy efficiency as part of the greening process? After all, energy is typically the second largest operating expense for a hotel, behind only labor. Well, you should turn to your best resource – your people. And it isn't just the people at the top who can make sure energy cost reduction programs are successful, it's the whole staff.
The most obvious people to think of are those in management and engineering. They set the tone, and they maintain and improve the systems that consume most of the energy, from lighting to HVAC and controls. But what about housekeeping? Do they play a role? Absolutely. They adjust blinds which affect how much sunlight enters the room, and they adjust room temperature set –points. Both of these can have a huge impact on room energy consumption. And they can positively improve guest satisfaction while minimizing energy costs, which is a win for everyone.
Let's take a more detailed look at what every department in your hotel can do to contribute to successfully greening your property through energy efficiency:
Energy conservation leadership at the most senior level at a hotel is vital to the success of the program. The GM should routinely make energy and water conservation an agenda item at staff meetings. Department heads need to know what the hotels annual budget for utilities is, and what the goal is to reduce consumption and costs going forward. The GM should establish an energy committee made up of a representative from each department that meets on a quarterly basis to review the hotel's conservation efforts. Another successful tactic is to elect an associate to become the hotel's energy champion and chairman of the energy committee.
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