Comprehensive data analyzes green hospitality practices around the world and identifies a range of innovative eco-friendly practices for hotels.
Less than half of the hotels in a green survey have implemented programmes that change linens upon request or every three days as a default while about one-third have yet to install digital thermostats in their rooms. This is surprising given that these practices have proven to be beneficial in terms of operational efficiency, cost reduction and even enhancing guests’ experience, says a newly launched green hotel survey report.
The survey, released in December 2016, is believed to be the first comprehensive Green Lodging Survey in the industry. Named the Green Lodging Trends Report 2016, it is prepared by travel and hospitality sustainability consultancy and research firm, Greenview, in partnership with Green Lodging News.
“Asia is a significant force within the global hospitality industry and the region has seen more hotels open over the last few years compared to the rest of the world combined,” says Grace Kang, managing partner of Greenview. “The importance of implementing sustainable practices in hotels across Asia has therefore never been more important than it is today.”
The hospitality industry has long been known for its energy usage, water consumption and tendency to produce waste. However, as environmental concerns gain more importance, an increasing number of hotels are beginning to implement simple green practices such as encouraging guests to re-use towels and linens in order to save on water and reduce pollution from detergents.
TRACKING ENERGY MANAGEMENT
Fortunately, a large number of hotels do track their energy management – about 90% of the 2,161 hotels surveyed indicated they track energy consumption. The use of variable frequencies had an uptake of almost 90%. Asia Pacific hotels, numbering 1,875 of the total, chalked up above the global average. The use of high-efficiency boilers had an uptake of 70%, while high efficiency chillers had 59%.
Lighting is another area where hotels have made significant progress in terms of sustainable energy practices with 70% of hoteliers in the survey saying they have replaced at least 75% of incandescent or compact florescent lighting with LEDs. However, lower uptake was recorded in areas such as waste heat recovery, an approach used by just 12% of respondents, and still a nascent practice, while solar PV panels were used in only 8% of the hotels surveyed.
Waste management is also an area where hotels can make small changes that have a significant impact. Installing re-fillable soap and shampoo dispensers in hotel rooms instead of disposable single use amenities is a strategy that 41% of properties observe. Simple practices such as not delivering newspapers to every guestroom saves a lot of paper. This practice had an uptake of 82% globally and 75% in Asia Pacific.
When it comes to water conservation, efficient water fixtures can reduce water cost and consumption significantly. Asia Pacific hotels had shown a higher uptake on installing low-flow toilets compared with efficient faucets and showerheads.
Technology also plays an increasingly significant role when it comes to hotel sustainability. Sensors, specialist building equipment and software were all commonly cited in relation to energy, water and waste management. Some technological innovations are now becoming more commonplace while systems such as reverse osmosis and composting machines are much less commonly used.
Understandably, the cost of implementing sustainable practices plays a huge role in whether they are applied in hotels. The survey revealed that for many hotels, unless some form of ROI can be demonstrated, significant capital is rarely spent on green approaches unless they are also seen as aesthetically pleasing. Such an attitude is often based on certain perceptions of guest expectations. Notably, nearly a quarter of the respondents admitted that they did not know their guests’ level of interest in sustainability.
“Most of the aspects we benchmark also reduce costs. This means the exercise enables a hotel to see that if it hasn’t put in a common item like a digital thermostat, not only is the property falling behind in terms of guest expectations, it’s also wasting money,” says Kang.
On the bright side, almost 70% have established a green team or committee to monitor and measure their sustainability while 79% of hoteliers said they hold staff training sessions on sustainable practices at least once a year.
The results presented in the report are based on data collected from 2,161 hotels located in 44 countries around the world. Conducted from June 8 – Aug 31, 2016, the findings specifically relate to eco-friendly and sustainable practices within the hotel sector. The data focuses on practices and initiatives grouped into 10 categories – air quality, energy management, waste management, water conservation, cleaning and maintenance, kitchen and laundry, communication, staff involvement, community involvement and procurement.
Launched as an annual report, the Green Lodging Survey is intended to provide a benchmark for green teams globally, allowing them to track their progress and compare practices with similar properties. “Through this annual benchmarking exercise, we reach hotels across the globe of all types, and can find the unique things going on each year to highlight best practices and innovation for the industry,” concludes Kang.[/ihc-hide-content]