Month <span class=February 2015" src="/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/cropped-office-building-secondary-1.jpg">

Month February 2015

A Look at Hotel Energy-Efficiency Solutions

Tara Hughes February 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , Fulcrum Insurance Programs No comments

Hotel Energy Efficiency

The efficacy of energy-efficiency solutions becomes increasingly clearer to the hospitality industry year after year. In fact, some of the most recognized hotel and resort brands are making increasingly more green decisions and taking the lead to implement best energy-efficiency practices throughout their properties.

There are many green measures a hotel property can implement – from LED lighting to intelligent energy controls and smart pumping systems and efficient water management. In this article, we’ll take a look at smart energy controls and the opportunities for cost savings in heating and ventilation.

The first thing hotel management needs to do is have an effective training program in place to educate the staff on best energy-efficiency practices. Changing staff behavior and attitudes is important in adopting energy efficiencies at a hotel property. Secondly, it’s important that any energy efficiency solution, such as smart HVAC controls, does not have a negative impact on the daily life of a busy hotel, either during installation or afterwards. There should be no adverse effect on guest satisfaction.

Equally important is that any proposed energy efficiency solution is based on sound business logic with a clear idea of timing for return on investment and a way to measure and monitor the solutions implemented. Hotel management should be able to measure accurately and understand current consumption rates, identifying immediate benefits and prioritizing investment decisions.

For example, many hotel properties focus on the HVAC in hotel rooms since guests spend so little time in them. In fact, some research indicates that hotel guest rooms are often empty for up to 46% of any 24-hour guest stay. With smart and effective guest room controls through a combination of sensors that detects whether a guest is in their room or not, the property can control the temperature of the room. When a guest is in the room, he or she must have control of the system, including the existing thermostat. When not in the room, the system can switch to a money-saving, energy-saving mode after a suitable period – usually 30 minutes.

To minimize disruption and loss of business, the smart controls need to be based on the best wireless technology that connect the micro sensors, as this avoids the need for complex cabling so ensuring that installation is very quick – equivalent to the room being cleaned – which means that rooms do not have to be taken out of service.

Any smart controls system should also be thoroughly tested first and would need to have the capability of monitoring accurately the property’s HVAC units, providing detailed a wealth of data and reports on energy usage and the cost savings garnered.

Fulcrum Insurance Programs is committed to helping the hospitality industry in their green efforts, supported by their partnership with AGPOM. Fulcrum offers key benefits to AGPOM Members, including insurance premium discounts. For more information, please feel free to call 425-453-5157 or visit www.fulcrumprograms.com.

AGPOM provides a Green Property Behavioral Plan specifically designed for hotels and resorts to help their staff see the benefits of green practices. For additional Green Hotel resources and articles check out AGPOM’s Resource Page.

4 Keys to Thinking about the Future of Sustainability

The SSC Team February 3, 2015 Tags: , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments

Here is a blog entry from last year that we thought would be worth another look. Enjoy!

At SSC, we often look to thought leaders and successful CEOs to give us inspiration and we are rarely disappointed in what we find.  In the Harvard Business Review article, Four Keys to Thinking About the Future, author Jeffrey Gedmin offers four ideas to help leaders see into the future. We thought his points below were great, and applied them to sustainability strategy and planning.

1. ENHANCE YOUR POWER OF OBSERVATION.

"For starters, be empirical and always be sure you’re working with the fullest data set possible when making judgments and discerning trends. Careful listening, a lost art in today’s culture of certitude and compulsive pontificating, can help us distinguish the signal from the noise."

Listen to your stakeholders -- both your supporters and your critics. Listen to the language they are using. Investigate their claims.  Ask them for clarification when you don't fully understand what they are saying, and make them be specific. You don't have to respond to every request or complaint that you get, but having an open mind will allow you to spot trends and notice opportunities you might otherwise miss.

2. APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF BEING (A LITTLE) ASOCIAL.

"I’m convinced that a company culture that encourages curiosity is vitally important... Curiosity keeps us learning and helps us, like the virtue of patience, to see the hidden, or understand the unexplained."

Don't put all your eggs in one basket -- experiment, pilot, and test sustainability initiatives in small increments. Find a risk level that's comfortable for you and play around a bit. Ask the question "why?"... a lot.  Find ways to help your colleagues get curious about sustainability and its impact on their job functions.

3. STUDY HISTORY.

"I think you study history to study human nature, the human condition, and human behavior. This is the realm of patterns, but also — frustratingly and fascinatingly — of infinite complexity and unpredictability."

Revisit the sustainability initiatives that failed or were rejected by management and ask some questions. What are the systemic factors that are keeping your sustainability strategy from reaching its full potential? What lessons from other departments and initiatives can inform your approach? Are there examples that you can draw on from other industries, or other parts of your supply chain? Sustainability challenges are rarely unique, and in most cases you can find answers (or parts of answers) if you look around and notice who's been in a similar situation before.

4. LEARN TO DEAL WITH AMBIGUITY.

"Whether it’s nature or nurture, most of us seem hard-wired to sort the world into simple binary choices. Alas, there’s often lots of grey out there."

What impact is climate change going to have on your business? How is a growing income disparity going to affect your market share? When will tighter regulation on your supply chain partners start impacting your pricing model? You will find that the true answer to these questions is, "I don't know." Sustainability is so complex that it is often impossible to accurately predict the future. So effective sustainability leaders must learn to successfully deal with ambiguity. Using systems thinking, applying sustainability principles ("reduce reliance on fossil fuels") rather than prescriptive rules ("install solar") will help sustainability leaders stay flexible and open to the best opportunities when they present themselves down the road.

Thanks to Environmental Leader for publishing a version of this article on their website!

SSC helps companies develop sustainability strategies that are relevant today, AND sets a course for the future. If you'd like some assistance creating or refining your sustainability roadmap, please contact us. We'd love to help.