Monday 10 May 2021

New research shows new net zero model brings benefits for hotel sector

New research shows new net zero model brings benefits for hotel sector

A new paper co-authored by international property consultancy Gleeds, global engineering and design consultancy Arup, global hospitality company IHG, and energy management and automation specialist Schneider Electric has revealed how the hotel industry can tackle the net zero carbon challenge and save millions of pounds in the process.

Entitled ‘Transforming Existing Hotels to Net Zero’, the team compiling the research used a real-life case study to consider what opportunities exist to decarbonise existing hotels and drive operational energy to net zero carbon. With energy consumption typically accounting for as much as 60% of a hotel’s emissions they considered a range of interventions, the initial cost of which was balanced against the potential long-term savings in a bid to develop a methodology that could be applied industry-wide.

Before intervention, the test premises used for research was found to produce the equivalent of the carbon sequestered by 24,000 trees planted in the UK. Through the implementation of operational changes alone, the study revealed that huge potential reductions in carbon emissions of more than 130 tonnes CO2e and substantial savings of over £112,000 in yearly energy bills could be achieved.

Gillian Breen, Director for Hotels and Hospitality at Gleeds added, “Gleeds is passionate about the future of our planet and committed to creating a sustainable built environment for the people and communities that live on it. This paper identifies opportunities to improve performance and reduce energy use, using both physical interventions and intelligent review of building operations. The real-life case study considers realistic, pragmatic interventions that will absolutely deliver energy and cost savings for hotel operators across the globe.”

The study offers invaluable insights into how controlling and optimising operations can play its part, before going on to suggest a raft of ‘active’ measures, such as switching from gas-powered equipment to low carbon electricity and outlining the impacts of generating renewable energy. In total, the test case was revealed to have the potential to reduce its annual energy bill by £467,000 per annum and cut its carbon emissions by a whopping 483 tonnes if all measures were implemented.

Spearheading the project, Simon Gill, Hotels and Leisure Business Leader at Arup said, “We are acutely aware that the majority of the hotels we’ll be using in 2050 are already built, so it is essential that we start to scrutinise these buildings if we’re to avoid them becoming stranded assets. The last year of lockdowns has actually given us a once in a lifetime opportunity to scrutinise their carbon footprint with negligible human influence. This enabled us to conduct in-depth analysis and significantly improve the industry’s understanding of how we can transform existing hotels to be net zero carbon.”

Catherine Dolton, Vice President, Global Corporate Responsibility, IHG Hotels & Resorts said, “The hotel industry’s global footprint presents an important opportunity to reduce emissions at scale. This research reinforces the fact that progress will be best achieved through collaboration, best practice sharing and solutions that make a positive difference. Given the impact of Covid-19 on the hotel industry, the availability of government incentives will also be key to enable hotel owners to fund the measures needed to decarbonise their properties.”

Michael Sullivan, Segment President for Buildings with Schneider Electric concluded: “Schneider Electric believes that buildings of the future need to be safe, healthy, and people-centric, however there is currently very little support and few resources available to help investors choose the best approach and calculate the financial investment required. We hope the novel research presented in this paper can help to answer these important questions. This is an excellent practical illustration of how the right plan, technology, and execution can help hotels achieve net-zero carbon goals with a significant return on investment.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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