The Use of Green Energy by Eco Hotels
Energy is fast becoming one of the major issues of our times, oil and gas reserves are slowly becoming depleted, the demand for energy is going up globally and energy bills are rising. This is the background to which eco hotels find themselves also requiring energy, wanting to cut costs and in many cases further develop their CSR or Sustainability Policies.
Sourcing Green Energy
For an eco hotel there are perhaps one or two options for generating within the hotel itself, depending on roof space wind and or solar power maybe possibilities, but are unlikely at least with current technology to allow the hotel to be complete self-sufficient in terms of energy. Ground source heating pumps are probably going to be out of the question in many urban environments. So that leaves most hotels who want to make the commitment to green energy having to source it from national suppliers in their country which in some countries for example Norway and Finland which have made a national effort to have renewable energy, where as countries in Southern Europe will have to look harder and probably pay more for green energy that they are able to purchase. ThiseIn reality there are very few eco hotels which are currently willing or able to without passing the cost on to
The EU have co-funded the Hotel Energy Solutions initiative which has international partners and was brought into being by the UNWTO. The objective of initiative is raise both energy conservation (by 20%) and raise green energy among hotels in Europe up to 20%. There is also a company in the EGH (Eco Green Hotels) which consultative services to hotels about energy conserving techniques and effectively sourcing renewable energy.
For an eco hotel based in an urban area the options for non-carbon based energy is to source "green energy" from their national suppliers. Who provide options for energy produced by solar or wind power. Although the rates for power produced from renewable sources can be considerably more expensive eco hotels, as fossil fuel prices start to rise the gap between the two energy options may begin to narrow. For the Scandic hotel chain have made what maybe the first to have really drawn a line in the sand for the use of renewable energy, by committing the company to being carbon neutral by 2025.
Having a stringent Waste Management policy that is effectively enforced will help reduce the size of an eco hotels exposure to an ongoing needless waste of energy. The but one of the key challenges facing any eco hotel is not just taking action on the operational side of the hotel, obviously ensuring staff are by energy conscious and behave accordingly is huge part of it. The other side though is creating a partnership with the guest. This may not always be the easiest thing to do, as the booking of the room will be paid for in advance and there is likely to be any benefit to the guest directly of being energy conscious. They may be happy to be reminded to use energy wisely, but they also may not, the last thing any hotelier wants to do is offend his or her guests. So trying to find ways of cajoling paying guests to be mindful of their energy consumption. Also energy consumption of both guest and staff member does not begin and end within the hotel itself, but includes their mode of transport and as such it is also advisable in terms of minimising the impact on the environment.
On the soley 'in-house" front any true eco accommodation should have a robust waste management strategy policy or initative which includes energy waste within its remit. Elements of energy conservation will also tie in with the accommodations construction and maintenance program as fittings like energy saving light bulbs and movement triggered lighting will fall under the elements of building itself. But 'energy heavy' elements like installing energy efficient washing machines, drying machines and dishwashers all fall under the heading of an energy conservation strategy.