Why should hotels and B&Bs go green?

In a survey by E.ON, it was found that boutique hotels and Bed & Breakfasts (B&Bs) would generate more customer interest if they were judged through a sustainable accreditation system similar to food and service quality ratings.

Here Investors in the Environment (iiE)  looks at the benefits to the hospitality sector of ‘going green’ and some simple steps you can take to get there.

Why go green?

The hospitality sector is all about customers; ensuring that you attract customers, that they have a great experience, and that they return time and time again. The E.ON survey revealed that almost a third of hotel guests want an accreditation system linked to sustainable practices to be implemented across hotels and B&Bs; with 50% revealing that the sustainability and energy use of a hotel is “important to them”.

As a business, it is also vital to operate as efficiently as possible, reducing overheads and maximising profits. The Carbon Trust states that hospitality businesses can reduce energy costs by 40% through energy efficiency opportunities.

In a recent business support project, funded by Lincolnshire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund, energy audits were conducted on seven small hotels, cottages and B&Bs. These seven businesses collectively saved over £8,000 by implementing simple energy saving measures, an average saving of £1,177 per business.

Going green has proven benefits other than customer satisfaction and cost saving: increased success in competitive tendering, positive engagement with your workforce, reduced carbon emissions, increased biodiversity and wildlife, and protection against the volatile gas and electricity markets to name but a few.

What have others done?

Hotels of all sizes are jumping on the sustainability bandwagon. Marriott hotels unveiled a new energy demand reduction scheme to cut its carbon footprint by implementing an automated signal management system which reduces energy output during times of low demand. The hotelier has also trialled a pot-washing technology in its kitchens that has cut water use by almost 92%. And AccorHotels is planting 1,000 vegetable gardens to help them tackle food waste.

Smaller hospitality businesses have been equally ambitious. Elms Farm Cottages installed a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity, updated the heating system to make the most of this free energy source, and installed LED lighting throughout.  Elms Farm Cottages said “we welcomed the chance to have an energy audit – it has proved most beneficial with advice and suggestions of ways to reduce our energy bills. We are also looking into getting a destratification fan to the roof our Granary building to further reduce heating costs and we are looking at how a fan could be incorporated to blend in with the old vaulted roof and its exposed beams.” Read the full case study here.

What can I do?

iiE believes in a simple five step framework to go green:

  • Write an environmental policy – this sets out the goals you are trying to achieve and provides a framework for making change, naming the green champion that will be responsible for driving it.
  • Measure resource use – you need to know what you are using to be able to reduce it. Measure and monitor key resources such as electricity, gas, water, waste and any other key resources that you use.
  • Set targets – SMART targets can be used to drive change and measure success – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.
  • Action Plan – Plan what actions you will take to reduce your environmental impact, assigning completion dates and responsible staff members. Where possible, have an independent expert review conducted of your site(s) to help you identify actions to be taken.
  • Monitor and report progress – communicate with customers and staff, celebrate your successes and evaluate your performance to find areas of improvement for next year.
  • Gain accreditation – show off all your hard work with an independent badge of approval.

iiE also has other membership benefits including free events and training, networking, promotion, a resource library and a team of staff on hand to guide your through your green journey.

We hope that this has helped inspire you to become a successful, sustainable, green business and would love for you to share your experiences with us by tweeting us @iiecentral.