A Path Towards a More Sustainable and Efficient Energy Management System

By James Gieselman Principal, Emeritus Consulting, LLC | December 18, 2016

Start discussing a technical topic and watch as people's eyes glaze over, even if those people are fully aware that it's something they should be paying attention to. Embarking on a path toward a more sustainable and energy efficient hotel operation qualifies as one of these 'glazed' subjects, so to eliminate any possibility of eyelid fatigue, let's talk about this extremely important issue in terms of something just a bit more fun - golf.

A Golf Analogy

Tired of listening to your old college buddies boast about how well they're scoring on the course, you finally decide to up your game. All indications are that they're tearing it up every time they play, so the first thing you must do is to find out just how good your friends actually are. Establishing their handicaps in the range of 15 to 23, this still doesn't give you – the sans-handicap learner – an accurate barometer for whether they are better than you or not. Maybe before buying that new $1,400 set of clubs everyone said you had to have, it might be smart to wait and see where you stand.

So, you go out and establish your handicap over the next several weeks. Lo and behold, yours turns out to be a 21! Certainly not the best of the group, but not the worst either. Now, though, you're wondering how you can lower that handicap so you become the best of your peers.

You could just go out and play more, but that hasn't proven effective for the last two decades, so why would it work now? No, you need to think this through and have a plan. That's the only sure way to make this happen. Thus, you opt for lessons to help improve your approach.

After finding the right golf professional, you meet him on the driving range. Driving, long irons, chipping and putting – he looks over your whole repertoire. Then he suggests five ways to improve your game substantially such as changing your stance, bigger hip turns, higher follow-through, new grips for your irons and purchasing one of those rescue/hybrid clubs. Pretty simple stuff, and it won't cost you a fortune either.

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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.