The hospitality industry is responsible for a fifth of the pollution caused by tourism; from single-use plastics to the amount of energy used to provide a comfortable room with AC or heating during summer and wintertime. Between 2005-2035 the CO2 emissions are expected to rise by 130%, putting pressure on the industry to strive for more sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint.
While Governments are supporting the industry to make this change, customers themselves are striving for a more sustainable stay. According to a study made by Statista in 2020, 48% of world travellers highlighted the importance of choosing an environmentally friendly option.
Best Sustainability Initiatives For Your Hotel
Both governments and travellers are demanding a more sustainable travel method, highlighting the importance of a Net-Zero Method which not only can reduce energy bills but also decrease tonnes in carbon footprint. The numbers mean that hotels that already have or are planning to implement sustainability initiatives obtain a competitive advantage over those that don’t.
Here are the best sustainability initiatives to implement in your hotel:
1. Waste reduction
It is no news that hotels contribute to thousands of tonnes of waste per year. We are not only talking about thrash; waste also includes food waste from hotel outlets and restaurants and guest waste from the rooms. That is why it is crucial to implement an adequate system for waste management.
Yes, you can reduce the amount of waste by recycling. However, in many cases, plastic is still used every day due to its convenience – for example, for water bottles, food packaging, and hotel toiletries. While nowadays, many alternatives lead to more sustainable waste management, prevention is still the best solution.
An easy and quick sustainability initiative for hotels to handle waste is to swap out plastic bottles and provide reusable water bottles with refill stations across the hotel. Hotels can also reduce waste by using a touchless refillable system mounted to the shower wall instead of individually packaged toiletries.
2. Food waste solution
According to the United Nations, in 2011 on average a third of all food was often thrown away before production, and this number increased when considering the amount of leftovers. With large amounts of food, it’s only normal for it to generate a large amount of waste.
Hotels are not only known for their accommodation services, but they will also have restaurants and bars. These are dedicated to providing guests with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and room service if needed. If not managed properly the food waste of a hotel can cause a serious environmental impact. This is a big concern for hotels that offer buffet services, considering that at least half of the food is not eaten and will eventually be thrown away. All the food that ends up in landfills, contributes to greenhouse gases emissions.
However, there are many initiatives to move towards more sustainable food-waste management such as sustainable dining, food waste audits, creating a plan for leftovers, and many more. An example of this is made by the Hilton hotel chain, who are committed to cutting their food waste in half by 2030.
3. Water conservation
Consumption of water has increased throughout the years at an incredible speed. However, water is a limited resource on the planet. As individuals and companies, we need to start implementing measures to conserve it, or it will be very scarce in the future.
Water is more than a natural resource for businesses, it has become a necessity, and the hospitality industry is no exception. Hotels require water for garden maintenance, provide guests with clean facilities, cook dinner in their restaurants, the bathrooms in each room, and much more. On average the amount of water a hotel uses daily, in the United States, ranges from 100 to 400 gallons per room.
Water conservation is not just a sustainable practice, but an economical one too. Since water represents a big slice of the total hotel expenses, you can lower your costs and increase revenue without much change by decreasing its intake.
Laundry represents 20% of a hotel’s water consumption. Instead of changing linens and towels daily and washing them, many hotels are now asking their guests to specifically mention if they would like daily cleaning service in an effort to be more sustainable. If your hotel doesn’t already do this, it’s time to consider this simple action.
Another option is implementing a management system to track water flow or switching to more efficient toilets and showers. By facilitating the data, it will show which rooms consume the most water, and with that information, a hotel can monitor water flow and expenses efficiently. This will allow for clear improvement paths to take action. Not only it is a more sustainable practice that will use fewer gallons of water but also cost-efficient.
4. Energy conservation
Energy is used throughout a hotel, in every single space, to keep the hotel running. According to data by The World Tourism Organization, hotel facilities rank among the top five in terms of energy consumption in the tertiary building sector.
Using such a significant amount of electricity takes its toll on the environment. Furthermore, energy consumption is directly related to a hotel’s revenue since it’s considered one of the most significant hotel-operating-expense. While energy consumption might be variable costs, it’s highly dependent on the activity levels of both guests and staff. This means that a higher occupancy rate will lead to a higher energy cost. Hence, the need to implement an appropriate system to manage it.
Contributing to additional energy consumption, hotel guests tend to be more careless with energy usage – leaving the television on throughout their stay, running the cooling or heating system even when they’re not in the room, or turning every single light on in their hotel room even when not needed.
Some small, yet significant practices hotels can do when it comes to energy conservation are switching to LED lightbulbs, having an efficient way to manage heat and air conditioning, and tracking the hotels’ energy output clearly. Hotels can also consider retrofitting their building with energy-efficient solutions.
A bigger investment model will allow hotels to consider the use of renewable energy such as solar panels or complete refurbishments with more energy-efficient systems.
Automated Sustainability Initiatives That Can Help You Transition to Sustainable Management
From HVAC systems to smart room maintenance, SensorFlow can help hotels make a smooth and easy transition towards more sustainable hotel management. Our HVAC energy management solutions can save hotels up to 30% in overall hotel energy costs.
Furthermore, SensorFlow’s software solution, SmartAllocTM, will enable you to optimize your room allocation in a more energy-efficient way. A Property Management System (PMS) integration, SmartAllocTM not only saves up to 10% in total hotel energy costs, but it also saves time for the front desk team from manually allocating rooms.
With both governments and travellers pushing towards more sustainable practices, is crucial for hotels to make the change. It is pretty accurate to say that these practices are a good starting point to move towards more sustainable hotel management. Waste reduction, food waste reduction, water and energy conservation are just a few ways in which you can start tackling the problem. Solutions like the one SensorFlow offer can help you make a smooth transition, reach out to us to optimize your energy consumption efforts with our SmartAlloc system.