Following three years of testing and extensive research, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and its partners have launched an online tool to help hotels evaluate their energy consumption and assist in improving their energy management and cutting costs.
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 return on investment calculator.
Testing of the toolkit was finalized in August in over 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 very positive feedback from hotel owners and managers.
Tourism is today one the largest drivers of employment and development. Millions of people are employed in the sector around the world, in a wide range of positions and levels, contributing significantly to local economic growth and wellbeing. Tourism is also responsible for 5% of the world’s CO2 emissions, out of which hotels and other types of accommodation account for 2% – a comparatively small, yet important, footprint that the tourism sector has assumed as a priority to be addressed.
In response to the challenge of climate change, the HES project aims to increase energy efficiency (EE) in European small and medium hotels by 20% and their use of renewable energies (RE) by 10%, demonstrating that economic growth and sustainability can, and should, go hand in hand.
The online toolkit, alongside other resources – a web-based “Energy School,” a series of research reports to better understand EE and RE technologies, and promotional materials for hotels to sensitize their guests to energy saving – will be made available free of charge to all accommodation establishments registered with the project.
Hotel Energy Solutions is a UNWTO-initiated project supported by the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation under the Intelligent Energy Europe program. The project has been implemented in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), as well as the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).
While built for European Union member states in line with EU energy policies, the project is expected to be rolled out globally over the coming years. Once adapted for non-EU member states, the project will benefit hotels worldwide, thus contributing to climate change mitigation while helping hotels increase business profits.