New government environmental scheme to affect hotels

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    The UK Government is implementing a new environmental scheme to reduce carbon emissions created within the private and public sectors, starting today.Around 20,000 businesses, including 23 hotel organisations in the UK, are believed to be involved in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, which will force many hotels to get their green act together. Many of the hotels involved will be franchises, such as Best Western, meaning that individual hotels will face the new scheme.The plan is hoped to reduce carbon emissions in the sector by eight per cent.

    Large hotels that have half hourly electricity meters will have to participate, otherwise they could face a fine of £5,000, with an additional £500 for each subsequent working day they fail to register. Fines will also be given for inaccurate reporting, with the penalty set at £40 per tonne of carbon dioxide incorrectly reported. These hotel groups must disclose their energy consumption over the coming year and set targets to reduce it for the following year. The Environment Agency will then collect these results and rank the businesses, including hotels, on a table, rewarding the best performing companies.

    For each tonne of carbon emissions created, businesses will need to pay £12. Then, depending on where these organisations rank on the table, they will either have their £12 returned to them, plus a monetary incentive if they were high-performing, or minus some cash if they were not.

    Environment Agency, head of climate change, Malcolm Fergusson said: “It’s a mandatory requirement that they report it (energy consumption), however we’re not going to come around and knock on everyone’s door. But we will be doing a certain amount of auditing and monitoring. If we find a big hotel chain has failed to register then we’ll be asking questions about that.”

    Companies could face a fine if they should register for the scheme but fail to do so. Fergusson said: “The scheme is designed to bring in large organisations… which are significant energy consumers. There’s a big branch of organisations that are responsible for about 10 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. If we’re going to meet the tough targets that the country has set itself by cutting emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, it means everybody has to do their bit.”

    Fergusson said hotels will be encouraged to perform well by reducing their carbon emissions because of the ranking table, which will be made public. He suggested that some businesses could use this ranking as a marketing tool. He said “There’ll be a league table and I think that where people come in this table is going to matter. There’s quite a lot of opportunities out there that are cost effective to help organisations to save money and energy and to save the planet all at the same time.”

    He said he is so far unsure of hotels’ reactions, but believes it will benefit them in the long run because reducing energy consumption reduces hotels’ bills at the same time. He said some key tips for these hotel groups would be to install better lighting systems, to improve their laundry and cooking usage and to create more efficient insulation systems.

    “Obviously the main things to improve on are lighting and cooling. Basic things like keeping these to more realistic levels and making them more occupant-sensitive is going to be important. Also, when it comes to the fabric – making sure bedding is well insulated and that there’s at least double glazing, if not more, on the windows.”

    Fergusson said hotels should begin to see results almost immediately. “We believe that the payback times are quite short – often less than a year. Even in the short run it should be quite beneficial.”

    Carmen Allan

    Daniel Fountain / 31.03.2010

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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