Research shows new net zero model benefits hotel sector

A new paper has revealed how the hotel industry can tackle the net zero carbon challenge and save millions of pounds in the process.

Entitled ‘Transforming Existing Hotels to Net Zero’, the report is co-authored by international property consultancy Gleeds, global engineering and design consultancy Arup, global hospitality company IHG Hotels and Resorts, and energy management and automation specialist Schneider Electric.

The team compiling the research used a real-life case study to consider what opportunities exist to decarbonise existing hotels and drive operational energy to net zero carbon. With energy consumption typically accounting for as much as 60 per cent of a hotel’s emissions they considered a range of interventions, the initial cost of which was balanced against the potential long-term savings in a bid to develop a methodology that could be applied industry wide.

Before intervention, the test premises used for research was found to produce the equivalent of the carbon sequestered by 24,000 trees planted in the UK. Through the implementation of operational changes alone, the study revealed that huge potential reductions in carbon emissions of more than 130 tonnes CO2e and substantial savings of over £112,000 in yearly energy bills could be achieved.

The study offers insights into how controlling and optimising operations can play its part, before going on to suggest a raft of ‘active’ measures, such as switching from gas powered equipment to low carbon electricity and outlining the impacts of generating renewable energy. In total, the test case was revealed to have the potential to reduce its annual energy bill by £467,000 per annum and cut its carbon emissions by a 483 tonnes if all measures were implemented.

“We are acutely aware that the majority of the hotels we’ll be using in 2050 are already built, so it is essential that we start to scrutinise these buildings if we’re to avoid them becoming stranded assets. The last year of lockdowns has actually given us a once in a lifetime opportunity to scrutinise their carbon footprint with negligible human influence. This enabled us to conduct in-depth analysis and significantly improve the industry’s understanding of how we can transform existing hotels to be net zero carbon,” said Simon Gill, hotels and leisure business leader at Arup.

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