Five Important Steps to Hotel Energy Efficiency
By James Gieselman Principal, Servidyne | April 29, 2018
If you've already implemented an energy strategy for your hotel or portfolio, go do something else. Read a book on advanced accounting methods, or go watch replays of Olympic Curling on ESPN Late Nite. But if you haven't really kicked off an energy efficiency program, read on. This is way more fun than Curling.
What do I mean by energy efficiency? Here's my quick definition: bringing a building to its best operating condition without breaking the bank. Implementing an energy efficiency policy is both easy and hard at the same time. Easy because its benefits are so compelling. Savings in energy spend go directly to your bottom line, and you've got a new-found sustainability position that can enhance your marketing effort. But initiating one can be daunting because usually it's unknown territory for most owners and managers.
Let's set this up on more familiar ground so that everyone can relate. You're feeling bad – headache, aches and pains – and it seems to be getting worse. One of those pains is your monthly heat, light and power expense on top of repairs and maintenance costs. Into those two buckets you drop probably 7 to 8 cents for every dollar of revenue you earn. That's second only to G&A as your largest unallocated expense. What to do?
Step 1. Assess your current situation
I want to say "Begin at the beginning." But that sound trite, so let me rephrase: begin at the beginning. Sorry, but there's no getting around this. Too many people and organizations have jumped headlong into an energy efficiency project without a clue as to what their goals were or even what their real problems were. If you think you've got the flu, your first action isn't to rush out and schedule surgery. No, you'd first try to ascertain the severity of the problem, for instance, setting up a physical to gauge your general health.
Your property is no different. Like you, if the hotel has a problem you should consult a doctor – a building doctor - who's studied the anatomy and physiology of building systems for years. His approach is similar to that of your own doctor: determine if the patient (your hotel) is really sick and if so what the possible treatments might be. Your doctor might run an EKG to monitor your heart function and take a blood sample to check for a host of conditions. A building doctor (energy engineer) does something similar looking for telltale signs of inefficiency. After your physical, your doctor would give you a report showing where you stood with regard to cholesterol, blood sugar, and other metrics versus the norm. Your building doctor would also report on where your property stood versus an energy norm.