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  • Jon Sholter

It Pays to Be GREEN



In the hotel industry, becoming green has been a top priority for many years. However, it seems hotel owners are afraid to spend the capital to do so. Energy is the largest cost a Hotelier can move the needle in behind labour. Hotel owners and operators need to really start understanding utility usage to make the best decisions for their guests and their bottom line. So, what do you need to do?





Understand: Make sure you start reviewing AND understanding your energy bills every month. What are your trends in electricity, natural gas, water, waste management? Are some of these bills the same every month? Do some of these bills vary with occupancy? Are you seeing spontaneous jumps that do not make sense? The list of questions goes on. Hoteliers need to understand their specific buildings, their operations and how they differ between other properties they may own. Is your heat electric or gas? Are you using real dinnerware or disposable, is water pressure naturally higher in one city compared to the other? With so much to go over, you can start seeing where knowledge can lead to money saving decisions.


Research: Start looking into your energy bills and see if you have any control over the costs. In certain markets, electricity and gas is unregulated. Meaning you can lock into electricity costs with different providers to add certain peace of mind to your energy bills. However, a word of cation, if you are not very familiar with this side of the business, you should not do this on your own. There are companies that can provide guidance on these decisions. Feel free to ask us and we can point you in the right direction. A hotel owner should also start looking into payback of certain energy initiatives. There are a few obvious choices that will make a very significant difference in your bottom line including in room energy management systems (fancy thermostats), LED lighting and low flow water solutions. These big three are especially obvious, but we would all be surprised how inaction on these investments leads to higher costs every year.


Action: After you decide you’re going to make some changes; decide what products you’re going to invest in and keep going. Every year, more of these solutions start making economic sense.

However, don’t stop at the big three, start looking down the line. Perhaps your disposable dishes should turn to real dishes, perhaps your hot water laundry should move to cold/reduced water laundry, perhaps the lighting being left on around your hotel should be put on motion detectors. Proper maintenance procedures can also lead to thousands of dollars, so be sure your team knows what they are doing. As owners we can sometimes find it difficult to make energy investments because of upfront costs. Don't let this stop you, do the math! If it makes sense (2 year payback or less, possibly even 3), pull the trigger! Do not let procrastination get in the way of easy ROI. Saving tens of thousands on your utility costs every year is good business in every way, from the bottom line, to guest and employee perception.


Analyse: After you start understanding how your utilities work and you’ve made your changes, look for red flags. Is your waste disposal the same every month even though your occupancy isn’t? If so, you’re doing something wrong. Is your water usage going higher even though your occupancy isn’t? If so, something IS wrong. Like most things, utility usage is not a set it and forget it SEGEMENT of the hotel. Continual review is necessary.


At the end of the day, there’s an absolute ton you can save in your operations from smart utility decisions. Feel free to reach out to us directly so we can share more in depth changes you can make to your hotel operations.