Managing energy in hotels and B&Bs

Inefficient light bulbs, catering equipment and air con could all be playing their part in reducing energy efficiency - and increasing your energy costs.

Andrew Fletcher
Site audit advisor

Five ways to make your hotel or B&B more energy efficient

There are plenty of opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of your hotel or B&B. Even small changes can help you make big savings.

I've audited over 15 hotels this year. To see my top five energy saving tips take a look below.

1. Heating open/close

You want to create a home-from-home for your guests, but you can save energy and cut costs without compromising on comfort.

Our energy auditor says

Heating could be accounting for more than 40% of energy used in your hotel or B&B. This means there's plenty of scope when it comes to making savings.

Here are some simple ways to get started.

Check the temperature of your accommodation

Check the temperature of your rooms against these recommended temperatures and adjust as needed.

  • Guest bathrooms 26°C to 27°C when in use. You want guests to enjoy a relaxing bath, but a bathroom might not need to be as hot as you think.
  • Guest bedrooms 19°C to 21°C - Not too stuffy, not too cold. This is the ideal temperature for a good night's sleep.

Create zoned areas

Zoned areas in your hotel will give you greater control of your heating - and help reduce costs. For example, you could turn the heating down, or even off, on unoccupied floors.

Have your boiler serviced regularly

An efficient boiler can save you as much as 5% on annual heating costs, so it pays to keep it in top shape.

Other words of wisdom

Use a time-clock controller/programmer to give your boiler a break when your guests are out.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

2. Hot water open/close

Hot water is essential for your business, but the costs can add up. The good news is that because water is metered and controllable, increasing energy efficiency can be straightforward.

Our energy auditor says

Set the right water temperature

The optimum temperature for stored water is 60°C. Hot enough to kill Legionella bacteria and warm enough for your guests and staff to use.

Introduce urinal flush controls

These can help to reduce unnecessary flushing in your toilets. The result? Less water used, more money saved. Likewise dual flush controls on WCs will reduce water consumption.

Aerating shower heads reduce water consumption without compromising shower quality. With water reduction of up to 30%* and resultant reduction in hot water consumption the savings soon stack up.

*Based upon standard shower head water usage of 12 litres/min and aerating equivalent at 8 litres/min

Other words of wisdom

Energy conservation doesn't have to compromise your guests' experience. In fact, the right water temperature can save you money and increase guest comfort.

Source:
Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

3. Catering open/close

Training staff, turning off equipment and giving your fridge some TLC - just a few simple steps can help you cut catering energy costs.

Our energy auditor says

Keep staff in-the-know

Turn your staff into energy champions. Training staff in energy management can reduce energy use by up to 30%.

Turn off or turn down equipment

Grills, fryers, hobs and extractor fans don't need to be on for the whole shift. You can make a difference by switching off or turning down equipment when it's not in use.

Switch on at the right time

Try labelling equipment with its preheating time so your staff only switch it on when they need to.

Using the right equipment

It sounds obvious, but choosing the right size pan, using saucepan lids and keeping chiller doors closed will help reduce energy. You can also use a frying pan instead of a griddle if you're cooking for only one or two guests.

Load up the dishwasher

Wait until it's full and shorten the drying time where you can. Using the residual heat to dry dishes can also help you avoid expensive power drying cycles.

Replace old equipment

If your equipment is 15 years old, it's time to trade it in for younger, more efficient models. Take time to shop around for the most efficient products.

Give your fridge some TLC

Defrost your freezers every two months (or according to the manufacturer's recommendations). This will save energy and extend the life of your equipment.

Other words of wisdom

  • Check and replace door seals on cold rooms, fridges and frozen food stores
  • Keep condensers and evaporator coils clean and dust-free
  • Make sure your systems have the right amount of refrigerant

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

4. Lighting open/close

Changing your light bulbs and lighting controls can have a big impact on your annual lighting bill.

Our energy auditor says

Switch to low energy bulbs

They look good, provide good light and put standard bulbs to shame.

  • Compared to a standard bulb, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) use up to 60% less energy, produce less heat and last 8 to 10 times longer.
  • LED lights are easy to install, use up to 80% less energy than halogen bulbs and give you around 50,000 hours of light.

Use occupancy-linked controls

Why pay for lighting when your guests aren't around? You can now find a range of controls that switch off lights when your guests leave their room.

Front desk controls

Some lighting systems can be operated at your front desk. This means you need to switch on lighting and heating only when your guests arrive.

Other words of wisdom

Have you considered key-card access systems or occupancy sensors? These could help you make significant savings and can pay for themselves in just a couple of years.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

5. Air conditioning open/close

The temperature of your hotel can make or break a guest's stay. Creating the right temperature at the right cost is a fine balance. But it's a balance we can help you achieve.

Our energy auditor says

Clean ventilation systems regularly

This can help increase efficiency by as much as 25% compared with un-maintained systems. Keeping fans, air ducts and parts clean will also reduce running costs and the risk of a breakdown.

Review your system each year

It's wise to get your whole air conditioning system serviced annually by a maintenance technician. Parts should be replaced as and when they're needed.

Don't let heating and air con run together

You don't want to pay for competing services. So try setting up a temperature ‘dead band'. This is effectively a wide gap between the temperature at which the heating goes off and cooling goes on. For example, the heating might switch off at 19°C and the air con will kick in at 24°C.

Other words of wisdom

As well as creating a comfortable atmosphere, supplying regular, uncontaminated fresh air is a legal requirement under some building and health and safety regulations. For the full lowdown, visit the Health and Safety Executive or the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

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