In last year’s report we noted our plans to provide environmental benchmarks, best practice and action planning toolkits for all hotels. We first responded with the creation of what we called ‘CR in a Box’ which we provided to our hotels via our annual leadership conferences and this is also available on line.
We also responded with the launch of our new online sustainability system called ‘Green Engage’ which assists our general managers across our 4,000 hotels to manage hotel energy, water and waste consumption more effectively. Early trial models show that we could potentially achieve energy savings of as much as 10% to 20%. Green Engage will benefit owners who can now reduce energy costs through more efficient operating methods, IHG will benefit because it now has a common environmental reporting and management system and consumers will benefit by staying in hotels that more environmentally friendly.
The ‘Green Engage’ software starts with hotels inputting their on site data. The system automatically generates reports and compares similar hotels across the world. Green Engage includes online lists for both new and current hotels showing the specific actions they need to take to reduce their energy, water and waste. Every aspect of the hotel lifecycle is covered from picking a responsible destination, selecting the correct lighting for the hotel through to selecting responsible cleaning materials and providing staff training on sustainability. The return on investment, carbon reduction and potential impact on our customers is calculated for each action item suggested. Below is an overview of these action areas.
A hotel’s location affects commuting options, local ecosystems, building energy efficiency and much more. Proper site selection should be given appropriate consideration at the beginning of a project as it will affect many down-stream decisions.
Responsibilities and opportunities exist with all water that passes through a building and site. Economic and Environmental indicators favour the lowest possible manmade changes to the natural hydrological-cycle.
PRODUCTS & MATERIALS
Materials selected for sustainable buildings should have appropriate performance, durability and environmental properties. Material selection can affect issues ranging from our planet's resources to occupant comfort and health.
Construction and demolition activities contribute significant volume to land fills and incinerators that could be avoided with proper management. Diverting this waste can reduce disposal fees and transportation consequences.
The building envelope is the interface between the indoor and outdoor environments. A properly designed envelope helps to maintain the desired indoor conditions and may permit the use of natural ventilation, passive heating, and day-lighting.
Guest comfort, operating costs and many global environmental impacts are all dependant on a hotel’s mechanical systems. Optimum results are achieved when the efficient systems are chosen and designed to work in harmony with the other building systems and components.
Efficient electrical systems in a hotel offer many opportunities to reduce operating costs and capture measurable reductions to environmental impact. The most savings were achieved through improved lighting design; these also increased the enjoyment and comfort of spaces.
OPERATIONS & MANAGEMENT
Hotel and hospitality operations can be very resource intensive. The practices and systems set in place to improve hotel operations and maintenance are an immediate and public way to exhibit a hotel’s commitment to the environment and sustainability.
Green Engage was developed using our designers and engineers as well as the finest in external support. It is suitable for use across all our brands and will provide a consistent platform for measuring our impacts and progress against our objective to make a night with us more carbon efficient.
Green Engage follows the extensive consumer research we completed in 2008. The research showed that today’s hotel guests want sustainable hotels that manage their environmental impact. As well as location, price and amenities, guests are now factoring in a hotel’s environmental credentials when choosing a place to stay.
By utilising ‘Green Engage’, hotels will now have for the first time, a comprehensive online system which tells them what to do to be a green hotel and gives them the means to conserve and save. Green Engage does the following:
- Measure – hotel energy, water and waste produced and their requisite carbon emissions reductions. Hotels can also benchmark themselves against other hotels.
- Manage – the elements of their hotel that most impact the environment. These can range from insulating the hotel’s hot water pipes to introducing a recycling programme and switching to organic cleaning materials to appointing one of the employees as a green champion.
- Report – on progress to date both internally and to guests and corporate clients.