Hotels Check into Energy Savings with Energy Audits

Mike Bailey

Today’s hotel guests expect more than plush robes and comfortable beds ― guests are starting to ask questions about energy efficiency and water usage at the hotels they frequent. A green door hanger with conservation tips isn’t enough anymore to remain competitive in the hospitality market:

  • Event planners are asking questions about carbon footprint when sourcing venues.
  • Concerned consumers consult sources like TripAdvisor GreenLeaders™ when choosing hotels.
  • Communities experiencing drought or water constraints expect hotels in the community to optimize water efficiency.
  • Competition is heating up as hotels are starting to list guest room energy management systems and LEED-certified facilities as differentiating amenities.

Moreover, as rising energy costs eat into profitability, the value of energy efficiency extends beyond marketing. Implementing energy and water efficiency upgrades provide hotels with a competitive advantage on two fronts―improved customer satisfaction and reduced costs.

THE ROLE OF AN ENERGY AUDIT

Many major hotel brands are setting and publishing aggressive goals for energy and water usage reduction, and they expect owners and management companies to make these goals happen.

For most hotels, it is difficult to know how to move forward in a way that satisfies guests while cutting costs. Equipment vendors and contractors may pitch their own solutions in the guise of an “energy savings audit.” To make informed and effective decisions, hotels need objective and unbiased guidance with expertise that spans the many different areas of the hospitality environment.

A comprehensive energy audit is the first step in setting a strategy for reaching energy efficiency objectives. An energy audit by a trusted, third-party typically includes a detailed assessment evaluating not only guest rooms and facilities, but also kitchens, meeting rooms, and laundry facilities, etc. Based on a site visit by an experienced facility expert, an energy audit delivers insight specific to the building, guest needs, environment and utility provider.

Every hotel property is unique. An urban 1,500-room convention center anchor property will have different energy efficiency opportunities than a 50-room hotel in a historic building. The role of the energy audit is to identify both existing energy consumption and potential savings.

Depending on the audit level, the final audit report may include:

  • Recommended changes to existing operations and procedures to save energy or water usage and costs.
  • Current carbon footprint and water usage data to meet reporting obligations.
  • Capital investments that will improve efficiency – together with the estimated time to generate a return.
  • Available incentives or rebates that offset investment costs.
  • Longer-term opportunities for improvements through renovations or upgrades.
  • The building’s current ENERGY STAR® rating and potential steps to improve it.
REVEALING UNTAPPED POTENTIAL FOR COST SAVINGS

Ecova performs more comprehensive energy audits of full service hotels in the United States than any other organization. Performing these audits over a diverse set of properties has revealed untapped potentials for cost savings in hotel properties.

  • The average utility cost savings identified by an energy audit equals 26 percent of the hotel’s utility spend.
  • At some hotels, an energy audit identifies ways to save more than 50 percent of the total annual utility costs.
  • Hotels that invest in LED lighting and guest room energy management systems see a corresponding improvement in customer satisfaction in addition to cost savings.
  • Adjustments in procedures and set-points often deliver immediate savings.
  • The biggest paybacks generally come from capital improvements. For hotels that regularly renovate to stay updated and current, making the right decisions during renovation can often cut utility bills by 20-30 percent.

Please contact us for more information about energy audits or to schedule one for your location.

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