Professionals working in the built environment are playing a key role in laying the groundwork for new ways to approach energy and water use in buildings that allow buildings to exist in harmony with nature.
Engineers in the hotel industry know how to solve climate change, and know it is not that complex to apply state-of-the-art technology with new features that solve problems and cost less to operate. It is natural technological progress.
When developing a sustainability plan, the concept of sustainability is a broad general term that covers many factors. Since the foundation of energy use data is easy to get and readily available, utility management is the easiest starting point for reducing the carbon footprint.
It is estimated that approximately 40% of all energy consumption in the United States, the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, come from buildings, and in the absence of deterrent action taken, the proportion of GHG is projected to double by 2050. Buildings sector decarbonisation is therefore key for the achievement of a sustainable low carbon economy.
In order to reduce emissions by 50%-52% by 2030, building emissions must be addressed through energy efficiency. Utility data becomes key to reducing your carbon footprint and they provide the largest opportunity for carbon reduction. Therefore, managing your building energy consumption becomes an important aspect of the hotel’s sustainability plan.
Major Cities Continue Adopting Penalty-Based Net-Zero Carbon Goals
Decarbonizing has historically been treated as insignificant—not because the climate crisis is not important, but because reaching Net Zero has typically been a complex process that has been both disruptive to business operations and damaging to bottom lines.
The critical issue related to delaying the process of decarbonization is that it takes time. For those who choose to wait, even in countries where there are no penalty-based regulations yet, decarbonization will become needlessly expensive and time-consuming.
Data Will Become the Backbone of Building Decarbonization
Hotel Buildings process thousands of data every single minute – yet 90% of data is not stored. And, even today, the operations of hotel buildings are typically managed simply by human judgment and pieces of paper, leaving crucial data points that could make significant strides in energy and cost reduction ignored.
As the hotels roughcast a path towards decarbonization, data is proving to be a valuable asset to better understand how a hotel building performs and where investments in infrastructure need to be made to expedite decarbonization goals.
Hotel owners and operators will increasingly need a centralized intelligent control platform to assist them wring out carbon emissions from the hotel asset base. While equipment upgrades are inevitable, utilizing data allows you to get the most out of what you already have, leading to quicker carbon reductions and the ability to recognize payback for your investments faster without any disruptions to your business operations. Continuous Monitoring and Adaptive Controls are the way to go.
This intelligent control platform must support various manufacturers and device types to enable savings across all. This also mitigates the RISK of locking on to a single supplier/manufacturer. Connected products offer hotel owners/operators unique advantages such as monitoring energy use from a handheld device (smart phone or tablet).
Technologies Delivering Sustainability and Resiliency Benefits
Since hotel building structures will be in use for decades, building resilience and cutting emissions over time is a central component of a meaningful long-term climate strategy.
A hotel’s infrastructure is the starting point for boosting environmental sustainability and resiliency benefits. Two major ways that the hotel industry could respond to climate change: reducing the environmental impact of buildings and infrastructure (referred to as sustainable practices) and prepare for the impacts of climate change that are already occurring (referred to as resilience).
Breaking down the information silos
One of the primary challenges for the hotelier is that each operating department has separate systems, each of which had its own way of operating. As a result, knowledge transfer between the business units is either weak or non-existent.
Much of hotel’s technology need to be upgraded, integrated, and secured, which present a challenge since the IT (information technology) and OT (operations technology) organizations are siloed. There is a wide range of technology within each hotel facility that provides just enough support to get by.
Most internal capability groups attempt to predict problems based on experience and beliefs rather than leveraging concrete data.
Risk Assessment: A comprehensive risk assessment is required to assess the capabilities of the existing infrastructure, foundation to provide more space for additional loads and enhance security. An assessment, which can be done by a third party or internally, takes into consideration multiple attributes and helps prioritize assets, based on data and facts, not emotional anecdotes from users. Scores should be based typically on the impact the asset or component has on fulfilling requirements for a highly agile system that enables launching enhanced systems and services to meet compliance with federal and state mandates, whilst supporting profit margins.
Condition Assessment: Assessing current conditions is like performing a wellness checkup on the assets in the hotel. Initial assessments can require substantial resources, but after the first round of evaluations are completed, updating the status on a regular basis becomes much easier and well worth the time. Condition assessments are fact-based, using standardized definitions and objectives and consistent standards.
Related articles on this site: An honest, sincere and effective strategy to improve your sustainability starts with a full and frank ESG audit as discussed by David Williams, Chief Operating Officer Asia Pacific in this article.
Vice President Americas, Hotel Solutions Partnership Limited is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, UK, and a Chartered Mechanical Engineer (C.Eng.F.I.MechE). He is a Senior Member with the Construction Specification Institute, USA, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and a Charter Member of the Energy Managers Society, USA.
Ranjit brings unique cross border experience and a broad range of multi-disciplinary skills to play in advising clients on all aspects of sustainable smart design in Architecture, MEP, Technology Systems for Mixed-Use Buildings.
He has recognized the quick pace of change in devices and systems powered by ever-advancing technology and has successfully taken a holistic approach to integrate the many siloed software solutions in hotels that would work with a single browser application. This technology delivers increased efficiency, optimized operations and enhanced building occupant experience.