Hotels will be able to contribute to climate change mitigation while also increasing their profits under a new United Nations-backed 'green' scheme offering an online toolkit to evaluate energy consumption, find renewable sources and improve energy management, thus cutting costs.
Testing of the toolkit, launched by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and its partners, was finalized this month in more than 100 European properties in four different pilot destinations – Haute-Savoie in France, Palma de Mallorca in Spain, Bonn in Germany, and Strandja in Bulgaria – with positive feedback from hotel owners and managers.
Although hotels and other types of accommodation account for only 2 per cent of the world's global-warming carbon dioxide emissions, UNWTO says addressing this comparatively small yet important footprint is a priority for the tourism sector. Of the world's 5.9 million hotel rooms, over half are located in Europe, where the project has been launched initially.
The Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) e-toolkit, the main output of the Hotel Energy Solutions project, provides hoteliers with a report which shows their current energy use and recommends appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and actions. It further sets out what kind of savings on operational expenses hotels can expect from their green investments through a calculator measuring returns on investment.
While Hotel Energy Solutions is a UNWTO-initiated project supported by the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation under the Intelligent Energy Europe programme, it is expected to be rolled out globally over the coming years. Once adapted for non-EU Member States, the project will benefit hotels worldwide.
The project has been implemented in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).