Chains Embrace Energy Management
As the mandate to control costs becomes more acute in a soft hotel economy, several lodging companies have taken forceful steps to reduce consumption of energy, water and other utilities.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently made a chainwide commitment to a 30-percent reduction in energy use per available room by 2020 at each of its 1,000-plus properties, including those owned and/or managed by others. In addition, Starwood aims to cut water usage by 20 percent over the next 10 years.
Calling the goals “an opportunity rather than an obligation,” Starwood President & CEO Frits van Paasschen says the initiative “makes sound business sense.” He also believes many Starwood guests choose the company's brands because “we share their sense of purpose for reducing environmental impact.”
Starwood is working with Conservation International, a non-profit promoter of green causes, to establish its environmental goals. As a prolog to this initiative, Starwood issued an Environmental Sustainability Policy two years ago and last year launched a Sustainability Resource Center to help individual properties assess and track their environmental efforts.
The approach at Hilton has been to give its properties the tools they need to measure their efforts at operational conservation. LightStay, Hilton's proprietary system for measuring sustainability, looks at indicators across more than 200 separate operational practices, including housekeeping, paper product use, food waste, chemical storage, air quality and transportation.
Following a two-year test at 1,300 properties, Hilton says that last year those properties saved enough energy to power 5,700 homes for a year, enough water to fill 650 swimming pools and reduced carbon equivalents to take 35,000 cars off the road.
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