Planning and implementing conservation efforts while also making the most of hotel asset management is challenging. To work well it takes feedback from management, employees, and hotel patrons alike as well as computerized maintenance management software (CMMS) to ensure proper asset and maintenance planning.
Hotel Maintenance: Conserve Natural Resources and Property Assets
Many hotels are embracing conservation efforts; in fact, a 2009 survey of more than 10,000 hotels found 67 percent offering towel and linen reuse programs, with as many as 94 percent of upscale properties participating.
The same survey also found 78 percent of luxury hotels had a program in place to minimize water consumption, as did 46 percent of properties overall. Clearly, conserving resources is on the priority list of many management teams.
What can hotels do to conserve resources?
Hotels can save great amounts of natural resources. Because of the grand scale of hotels, small changes can lead to huge natural resource savings. Here are some easy conservation measures to implement:
15 Hotel Conservation Measures
- Printing on recycled paper using soy based ink. This makes documents biodegradable, while also cutting down on paper use.
- Publishing employee handbooks and benefit data online, as well as annual reports. No printing or paper waste.
- Double sided printing, and only when necessary.
- Installing water-efficient toilets, shower heads, and faucets.
- Using energy-efficient fluorescent lighting.
- Turning hotel HVAC controls off or down in unoccupied rooms.
- Using motion sensors instead of always-on lights in areas where feasible.
- Hotel-wide recycling of paper, plastic, cans, and outdated tech equipment and even TVs, radios, and DVD players.
- Water filtration systems to eliminate bottled water.
- Towel and linen reuse encouraged with signs in all bathrooms.
- Using washable hand towels or air dryers in restrooms.
- Purchasing shampoo, conditioner, and soaps in large containers and using refillable dispensers.
- Removing all toxic chemicals from cleaning products.
- Purchase organic and locally grown products served when possible.
- Rainwater harvesting to water plants.
Why should hotels go green?
Certainly being good to the environment is the most important reason, but there are others. Quite simply, many conservation measures save significant amounts of money and other hotel resources.
Awards by companies like AAA offer eco-friendly lodging certifications, and a new survey by Tripadvisor tells us that respondents consider the “green factor” when making travel decisions 57 percent of the time. What is more, the survey also concluded that more than half of travelers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly lodging.**
Here are some ideas for meshing proactive facility management and conservation:
- Hotel-wide inspections can uncover areas of potential waste, like HVAC units that are not up to par.
- Audit equipment that uses power when it is not switched on, and use smart meters to power them down completely.
- Install skylights in the lobby area, restaurants, or bar areas to enhance lighting without any extra use of energy.
- Replace washers and dryers with Energy Star appliances to save both water and energy costs.
- Install window film in guestrooms to reduce heating and cooling costs, glare, and sun fading of drapes, carpets, and furniture.
- Use solar water heaters for swimming pools and hot tubs, and be sure to cover them when not occupied.
- Use radiant barriers and reflective roof coverings to save energy.
- Add filter changes and water leak checks to regular preventative maintenance planning, so that it is done frequently and will catch any problems.
- Monitor rates for energy and water use, looking for usage changes that show potential problems.
- Insulate hot water pipes in all areas possible to conserve energy.
- Perform regular preventive maintenance on all energy-utilizing equipment for most efficient energy use.
Any number of the conservation methods mentioned above save scarce hotel operating funds. They will also keep assets running longer through better preventive maintenance and inspections which will save even more cash flow.
While the suggestions here are a good start, there are literally hundreds of ways to save energy and hotel assets at the same time. Utilize feedback from employees and guests for additional ways to save valuable natural and hotel resources, including the use of your CMMS to monitor and ascertain that tasks are completed as needed and on schedule.
*Executive Travel Magazine, Hotels Adopt Eco-Friendly Practices, March 2009
** Tripadvisor Travel Survey, TRIPADVISOR SURVEY REVEALS TRAVELERS GROWING GREENER, April 2012