Striv­ing for sus­tain­abil­ity

Prac­tices need to get se­ri­ous

Hotelier Middle East - - COMMENT & OPINION -

En­ergy – in­clud­ing elec­tric­ity and water – rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant share of to­tal op­er­at­ing costs in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. Ris­ing en­ergy costs and in­creased aware­ness on en­ergy con­ser­va­tion ben­e­fits have prompted ho­tels world­wide, in­clud­ing in Dubai to adopt en­ergy-ef­fi­cient so­lu­tions and prac­tices. In ad­di­tion to im­prov­ing mar­gins through oper­a­tional ef­fi­ciency, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency is cen­tral to ho­tels striv­ing to­wards in­creased sus­tain­abil­ity, both as a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity prac­tice as well as a key client dif­fer­en­tia­tor.

En­ergy con­ser­va­tion mea­sures are ap­pli­ca­ble and ben­e­fi­cial to both new and ex­ist­ing ho­tels. New ho­tels should de­sign their fa­cil­i­ties with ef­fi­ciency in mind as a mi­nor in­crease in cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture (Capex), if any, will have a very short pay­back time from re­duced oper­a­tional costs due to lower elec­tric­ity and water con­sump­tion. New build­ings should fol­low green build­ing codes set to cre­ate a sus­tain­able built en­vi­ron­ment through im­proved guide­lines and spec­i­fi­ca­tions. For ex­ist­ing ho­tels, set­ting clear en­ergy man­age­ment tar­gets, en­ergy au­dits and en­ergy-fo­cused fa­cil­ity man­age­ment are the main levers in man­ag­ing en­ergy usage. Au­dits and retro­fit projects typ­i­cally tar­get the main com­po­nents of a build­ing and mod­ify or re­place them with more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient ma­te­ri­als and equip­ment. This in­cludes heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing (HVAC) up­grades; light­ing re­place­ment, ef­fi­cient water fix­ture in­stal­la­tions, ad­vanced con­trols and im­proved pro­cesses.

Depend­ing on sev­eral fac­tors, these retrofits can gen­er­ate 20 to 70% sav­ings on the elec­tric­ity and water bill of ho­tel es­tab­lish­ments, sig­nif­i­cantly im­prov­ing bot­tom­lines.

Fur­ther­more, the growth of En­ergy Per­for­mance Con­tract­ing of­fers new busi­ness mod­els whereby En­ergy Ser­vice Com­pa­nies (ESCOS) can retro­fit build­ings with lit­tle or no in­vest­ment from build­ing own­ers and get com­pen­sated only if en­ergy sav­ings are ma­te­ri­alised.

As air­con­di­tion­ing ac­counts for more than 50% of a ho­tel’s elec­tric­ity bill, dis­trict cool­ing can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion and costs, as it is 40% more en­ergy ef­fi­cient than other cool­ing so­lu­tions. In ad­di­tion, ho­tels should con­sider pur­chas­ing and in­stalling highly en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances with a 4-5-star ESMA en­ergy la­bel (A++ rat­ing). This is ap­pli­ca­ble to a num­ber of ap­pli­ance cat­e­gories, namely ACS, re­frig­er­a­tors, wash­ing ma­chines and dish­wash­ers, among oth­ers. For ex­am­ple, a re­frig­er­a­tor with 5-star rat­ing can save up to 75% of elec­tric­ity com­pared to one with a 1-star rat­ing.

When it comes to water con­ser­va­tion, ho­tels must con­sider in­stal­la­tion of ef­fi­cient ir­ri­gation sys­tems, nur­tur­ing of indige­nous species, adop­tion of hard­scap­ing and ir­ri­gation with re­cy­cled water. Ad­di­tion­ally, in­stal­la­tion of aer­a­tors and low-flow water fix­tures in­doors, and sen­sors, are great ways to re­duce wastage.

Ho­tels can also sup­ple­ment en­ergy ef­fi­ciency ef­forts through us­ing re­new­able en­ergy. The in­stal­la­tion of so­lar pan­els can meet part of a ho­tel’s elec­tric­ity re­quire­ments on­site, thus re­duc­ing over­all elec­tric­ity costs and con­tribut­ing to Dubai’s clean en­ergy tar­gets.

Al­though a wide ar­ray of mea­sures and prac­tices can greatly im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of the ho­tel sec­tor, the in­volve­ment of all stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing ho­tel guests, is es­sen­tial for the suc­cess of con­ser­va­tion mea­sures. De­spite the in­creas­ing fo­cus on aware­ness cre­ation, sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices still do not re­ceive the se­ri­ous­ness and ded­i­ca­tion they de­serve. Sus­tain­abil­ity mea­sures im­ple­mented by ho­tels should be well com­mu­ni­cated to guests, thereby slowly in­te­grat­ing these mea­sures into guests’ fun­da­men­tal re­quire­ments for a ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence, through the gen­er­al­i­sa­tion of these prac­tices.


Shadi Al-kadi is di­rec­tor, pro­gramme man­age­ment at Taqati – the Dubai En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency Pro­gramme - which is the en­tity man­dated by Dubai Supreme Coun­cil of En­ergy to im­ple­ment the De­mand Side Man­age­ment Strat­egy (DSM 2030) of Dubai. He has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence lead­ing trans­for­ma­tion and strat­egy im­ple­men­ta­tion pro­grams in both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors in the en­ergy, tech­nol­ogy and fi­nan­cial ser­vices fields.

Email: [email protected]

De­spite the in­creas­ing fo­cus on aware­ness cre­ation, sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices still do not re­ceive the se­ri­ous­ness and ded­i­ca­tion they de­serve”

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