The hospitality sector is leading the way in the global campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a rapidly growing number of carbon-neutral hotels.
Being carbon neutral as a business, organisation or individual simply means doing things to remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as you add to it, creating a “zero carbon footprint”.
The 24/7 nature of hotels means that their consumption of essential utilities, such as electricity, gas and water, is significant. However, there are simple and sustainable ways to reduce the negative impact such high consumption has on the environment.
Environmentally-conscious hotel groups, like Carlson Rezidor, with its Think Planet initiative, are shaping the future of their operations around carbon neutrality by implementing strategies to reduce carbon emissions.
There are a number of ways to offset, from paying others to remove or sequester CO2 through tree planting to supporting projects focused on preventing greenhouse gas emissions. You can also buy carbon credits to offset annual emissions generated in the consumption of utilities like electricity, gas and water, as well as services like laundry and transport.
Responsible hotels are reducing the impact of their operations on the environment by replacing energy-guzzling lighting with low-energy LED lamps, installing smart controls for heating and lighting and reducing water consumption. Retrofitting with LED lamps can deliver carbon emissions savings of up to 85%.
A simple step like fitting eco shower heads, which can reduce water usage by more than 50%, brings immediate carbon benefits, not only through reduced consumption but also by cutting the amount of energy needed to heat and pump water.
Working with trusted partners who can help to plan, implement and, most importantly, measure carbon reduction projects is essential for any hotel group looking to successfully reduce carbon emissions.
SaveMoneyCutCarbon.com has a range of useful tools, including a mobile app to gauge water savings and online calculators to assess carbon emission reductions from solutions like LED lighting. You can also purchase simple and effective products, such as flow bags to measure the flow of your taps and showerheads.
In addition, you can also access useful guides, such as the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI). The HCMI uses Global Business Travel Association guidelines and is free for any hotel wanting to measure the carbon emissions from a guest stay, a meeting or an event. Associated emission generators, such as staff travel, furnishing and waste, should also be factored in.
The HCMI is also useful for larger hotel groups which must have emissions information as part of the annual RFP process, as it allows them to identify green suppliers and is also essential for mandatory reporting.
The measurement initiative has two goals – to substantially reduce the hotel carbon footprint and to demonstrate good management practice. However, due to the number of property and geographic variables in the sector, it does not provide benchmarks.
Hotels around the globe are focusing on sustainability and are demonstrating the many ways that a business can be commercially viable as well as environmentally sound.
Mark Sait is managing director of SaveMoneyCutCarbon.com, a full-service efficiency partner helping businesses and households reduce energy and water consumption, and cutting carbon emissions to improve sustainability.