The next BIG thing in Green Technology – NONE?

Wind Energy

By Naomi Stark, Stark Service Solutions

Recently I enjoyed a gorgeous spring day in Florida.  After an unusual week of solid rain the sky was as blue as can be.  Looking left, right, and forward I was embraced by brilliant bright green grass carpeting merging with lush green trees.  Carefully manicured landscaping accents the beauty of this gorgeous day.  As I soaked all this beauty in, it got me thinking, is all that green actually “all natural”? Mother Nature (as unpredictable as any female) is only consistently green with the efforts of human.  Irrigation systems and landscaping equipment maintain and sustain this beauty.  Unpredictable weather patterns would leave much of this “green” brown much of the year without the effort of people and technology to balance it out.  Therefore, if even Mother Nature isn’t all that “green” without technology and investment by human hands, how can we expect our industry to be green without effort and investment?

The green topic has been around for a while now. Still many hoteliers operate without – or at least minimally – green technology.  Why?  Is it because the technology doesn’t exist?  No.  Is it because we lack the studies, statistics, seminars or articles which prove the financial and social advantages for those who embrace green technology?  No (you are reading this article after all).  Reasonably, a significant challenge is the many competing, equally legitimate, priorities facing an industry with limited resources during a recovery from the less than fun economic times we all know so well.

Could another legitimate factor be denial?  Certainly.  Not all, but too many owners, investors and operators still cling to the past and believe that operating as they have been is just fine.  Green is too expensive.  It’s inconvenient.  It can wait.  Eventually, reality catches up with denial.

The unfortunate thing is it could cost some their operation if they don’t take advantage of financially sound green technology options available. When most of us entered the industry we didn’t have the green technology options we do today.  But that is just it, today the options are plentiful.  That makes me wonder, who will be in business “tomorrow”?  Will it be those managing and reducing their rising energy costs?  Will it be those managing their water consumption?  Will it be those who efficiently manage their labor costs and preventative maintenance programs with technology versus manual paperwork?  The obvious answer is yes.

The current green technology trend in the hospitality industry is:  fully embracing it.  For example, Starwood Hotels has the requirement that all Westins reduce their energy costs by 30% by….  IHG and Marriot have been reaping significant financial benefits for several years from their aggressive green initiatives.  Marriott International Hotels’ temperature management system reduced water consumption by 58% since 2007.  They’ve reduced the number of servers in its server farm by 53%, a savings of $3.7 million.  Holiday Inn’s (InterContinental Hotels Groups) energy-efficient lighting systems estimate a savings of $4.4 million, 52 per cent reduction in kilowatt hours annually.

As a branded operator do you simply satisfy corporate requirements?  Are you looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve?  Do you appreciate without effort green is brown?

Let’s address the first challenge:  “Many competing equally legitimate priorities which face an industry dealing with limited resources.”  (“AKA:  I don’t have time, I’m too busy!”)

Fair enough.  You have your hands full.  Your budget is maxed and you don’t have the time to deal with anything past the here and now.  Got it.  Have you considered a “Green Coach”?  An expert who can assess your current circumstances, your goals and your reality (budget, time, etc…) and who is up to date on all the newest and best options available for your size and type hotel?

Cindy Beata, Founder of Tec360 is helping busy GM’s and owners find immediate, affordable options that guarantee an ROI in a matter of months.  Not selling any particular product, yet representing a diverse repertoire of proven industry products, Cindy and her team are matching the right products with the right hotels.  This takes the time consuming research off of the GM.  Eliminates needless product demos and sales pitches.  Tec360 assists their clients to smoothly merge on the superhighway of green technology products.

As for the second challenge preventing hotels from fully embracing green technology:  “Denial.”  Really?  Ok, if we must.  I won’t attempt to change your mind by going on about the environmental social responsibility the hospitality industry has or the limited natural resources available or the exploding global population which will only add demand to the limited natural resources available.  Simply consider the financial advantages your competitors have been enjoying:

  • The InterContinental Hotel, San Francisco Digital thermostat with Motion sensor saved $75,491 on energy costs from January to September in 2010
  • The Montage Beverly Hills, California (Montage Hotels and Resorts): CO2 sensor with VFDs  – Reduce the electricity required to run the garage ventilation system by over 85%  Annual savings of over 3.4 mil kilowatt hours of energy (= $420,000)
  • Gaylord Palms Hotel, Orlando, Florida:  low-flow faucets and toilets saved more than 10-30 gal/room per night and more than 3 million gal/ year, respectively.
  • Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites’ in Canada, 100% of the energy needed for heating hot water was provided by geothermal and solar systems.

If you are still not convinced that green technology is not a fad… That it is essential in sustaining your operation…That you can be financially green without effort or investment in green technology…then ok.  Just know you’ll be missed at future HITEC events because your operation was lost, because you simply couldn’t afford to keep your doors open and your electricity on anymore.

•       Global demand for all energy sources is forecast to grow by 57% over the next 25 years.

•       By 2030, 56% of the world’s energy use will be in Asia.

•       Electricity demand in the U.S. will grow by at least 40% by 2032.

***About the Author***

Naomi L. Stark, President & CEO Stark Service Solutions, LLC, Current Former Chair, AH&LA Technology & E-Business Committee

An expert in hospitality operations, Ms. Stark founded Stark Service Solutions, LLC in 2001 following several years with Starwood Hotel and Resorts as an Area Director of Guest Satisfaction Management.  Ms. Stark has developed transformative training and software programs helping her clients internationally achieve remarkable successes in satisfaction and loyalty ratings.  Ms. Stark is very involved in industry organizations and is an industry event speaker, including HITEC and the AH&LA Fall Conference.