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Three Top Sustainability Solutions for the Hospitality Industry

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important to travelers and the hospitality industry as a whole.

More than two-thirds of respondents to a 2021 seven-country American Express travel survey said that they “are trying to be more aware of sustainability-friendly travel brands to support.” Another poll from Booking.com, found that 69 percent of the respondents “are looking to the travel industry to help support the growing interest in sustainable travel.” Clearly defining and highlighting the sustainability actions and goals of your hospitality company will allow you to capitalize on this growing demand.

APTIM can be your trusted partner on this journey. In this article, we highlight three different sustainability solutions we offer the hospitality industry that can satisfy guest expectations and demands, as well as meet business sustainability and financial goals.

Measuring What Gets Managed

Energy represents the single fastest-growing operating cost in the hospitality industry. ENERGY STAR reports that the average hotel will spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy. This represents about 6 percent of a property’s total operating cost. As a result, a particularly effective first step for making your business more sustainable is to expand your reporting practices by establishing a detailed energy consumption monitoring program via sub-metering equipment.

By measuring the energy used by heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting, and other vital energy consuming systems, sub-metering enables the creation of a detailed electricity consumption picture at a property. With certain technologies, sub-metering can even get as granular as reporting on a per room basis. The technology can even help detect failing or damaged equipment, enabling repair or replacement before a problem impacting guests occurs.

Sub-metering information can also create the foundation for a more strategic approach toward overall energy efficiency across several properties. This can be especially helpful as many electricity providers move toward time-of-use pricing – detailed electricity consumption can allow you to shift some loads to take advantage of lower off-peak rates.

APTIM can help your hospitality business get started with your energy monitoring. We can help you take full advantage of the grants, rebates, and other incentives available at the federal, state, and local levels that can help get most sub-metering systems installed at little to no-up-front cost. Once installed, APTIM’s experienced engineers can make certain you are getting the best performance possible from the system to ensure you receive the fastest possible return on your investment. Once the system is installed and performing correctly, you can begin to look at other opportunities like strategically offsetting your electrical usage with renewable energy sources.

Integrating Renewables Strategically

Ask your average traveler to think of an image emblematic of sustainability, and many will likely envision solar panels. It is true that solar energy is booming in the U.S. In the last decade alone, the Solar Energy Industries Association reports that solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 33 percent. Due to strong federal, state, and local policies; rapidly declining costs; and increasing demand across the private and public sector for clean electricity, there are now more than 121 gigawatts of solar capacity installed nationwide.

Many hotels and resorts have begun to place photovoltaic solar panels on their buildings, which is often a good option. However, at APTIM, we see even greater opportunity in parking lots. With the addition of parking lot solar canopies, a hotel can provide their guests’ vehicles with shade while simultaneously generating renewable energy. Parking lot solar canopies are also a more efficient use of space than installing a standard ground-mounted system that would require additional landscaping space, which many mid-scale hotels lack. Furthermore, with the rapidly approaching electric vehicle (EV) demand, a solar canopy at your property allows guests with EVs to harness the power of the sun.

As with sub-metering, solar canopy systems qualify for a variety of federal, state, and local rebates; tax credits; and incentives. The experts at APTIM can help you take full advantage of them to reduce up-front costs and, once installed, we can ensure the systems provide the full benefits your guests and bottom line expect.

Recycling and Waste Reduction

Convenience and service have always been at the core of the hospitality industry. Unfortunately, this means large quantities of waste – from single-use shampoos and plastic-wrapped bathrobes to breakfast buffets that encourage indulgence. As a result, the entire hospitality industry still has a long way to go on the issue of waste.

A property must conduct a waste audit to fully understand the type and amount of organic waste being generated. This audit can also highlight other materials that could be disposed of incorrectly. Once your property is armed with the results of your waste audit, you will begin to see where you can begin reducing waste.

Many waste reduction efforts come down to the team members and management at each property. For locations with Food & Beverage operations, composting is a great starting point for reducing organic waste. As states and municipalities enact legislation, such as California’s Senate Bill 1383, requiring organic waste collection, hospitality businesses are looking for ways to compost onsite to avoid additional costs or curbside collection services. By implementing an on-site composting process, you are removing food from the waste stream which can lead to reduced hauling and disposal costs. These on-site composters can handle anywhere from 50 to thousands of pounds of organic material per day.

Many of the waste audits completed by APTIM have found properties are not in fact recycling the items they thought were being recycled. To ensure your efforts are maximized at each location, you need to keep employees informed of the best recycling and waste reduction procedures. Ensure the training is being presented to each new team member and continue to encourage feedback from your teams for suggestions to improve your program.

APTIM has a team of professionals that offer a wide range of solutions for your unique situation. APTIM can assist with the planning, execution, data analysis, and reporting for your energy and waste needs.

For more information on these technologies, or how APTIM can support you in advancing your sustainability strategies, reach out to the APTIM team today.

By Christian Dettman, Hospitality Client Relationship Manager

APTIM. Expect the Extraordinary.

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