Energy Management for the Little Guy

By Jim Poad Director of Client Solutions, Advantage IQ | October 28, 2008

Imagine you're a PGA golf professional. You're not well-known, but you finish high enough on the leader board in enough tournaments to make a decent living.

You have the same expenses as the tour's household names-travel, meals, hotel stays, caddie fees, and family support. But you probably can't afford all of the top-notch services the best players can, such as full-service travel packages for your tour stops.

Small hotel franchisees and independent hotel operators find themselves in a similar situation. Their concerns are the same as larger chains, in that they must pay employees, stock inventory, buy furnishings, and deal with heads-to-beds issues.

Also like larger hotels, smaller operators have little time to manage the costs of the one thing hotels couldn't be without: utilities. But unlike larger establishments, they often don't have the capital to spend on full-service solutions that manage utility expenditures.

That's about to change. Some energy management companies are providing a solution that gets smaller operators in on the ground floor of energy management. In fact it's so easy to use, all they need is a fax machine or a scanner.

The best part: It offers all the auditing benefits of a full-service solution, but keeps bill paying services in the customer's hands, possibly allowing for dramatic cost cutting.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.