Hotel Energy Profits: Heeding Albert Einstein
By Robert Allender Founder, Energy Resources Management | May 01, 2016
Despite decades of effort, hotels continue to use more energy than they actually need to fully achieve their business mission and at the same time fail to extract maximum value from the energy they buy and from the time and effort put into managing that energy use. This article suggests why this is so, and puts forward an approach informed by ideas from Albert Einstein himself. Taking AHLA advice in 1984 would have given the hotel industry 30 years of energy profits; now's the time to avoid a second miss.
When the OPEC oil crisis of 1972 came along, businesses in affected countries tried to stop wasting energy. They conducted energy audits to identify the mistakes and oversights engineers had made in setting up their buildings and factories. They retrofitted equipment to energy efficient versions. And they formed energy task forces to stimulate behaviour change. Stickers went on light switches everywhere, reminding occupants to turn of the lights when they left the room.
The hospitality industry certainly tried as hard as the rest. Energy saving programs sprung into life in hotels across the US and across the world. The Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Motel Association, as it was called then, published a truly excellent book in 1984 that covered everything a hotel executive would need to know to prevent energy waste from ever recurring. It carried the simplest of titles: Energy Management.
Energy Management was written by Robert Aulbach, who continued helping hotels discover the truth about their energy use until the very end of his career. The forward was written by William Edwards Sr., at the time Vice President but shortly thereafter Vice Chairman of Hilton Hotels. In that forward Edwards admonished the hotel industry to resolve the issue of energy waste. Imagine his disappointment, were he around to see that the issue has not been resolved at all and that the hotel industry continues to waste energy in prodigious quantities.
Because simply trying to stop wasting energy did not result in an end to energy waste. The proof of this is found in newspapers and trade journals across the globe. Every time the media carries a story about a hotel saving energy, one thing is indisputable: that hotel was up to that point wasting that energy. How much energy was previously being wasted is commonly announced front and center with a declaration that the hotel is now saving X percent or Y dollars compared to its previous level of energy consumption. What is rarely if ever included is any detail about how long that energy waste has been going on.
This article sets out to introduce you to three ideas, three thoughts to ponder about why the hotel industry continues to waste energy, and what might be done about it.
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