Tuesday, 18th May 2010
Source : Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist

Recently, Hilton Worldwide announced it has been secretly monitoring the energy use in 1300 of its 3500 hotels worldwide. Using its proprietary system LightStay, the corporation has calculated and analyzed its environmental impact.

In the first full-year of findings, the 1,300 LightStay-equipped properties conserved enough energy to power 5,700 homes for a year, saved enough water to fill more than 650 Olympic-size pools, and reduced carbon output equivalent to taking 34,865 cars off the road. Reductions in water and energy use alone also translated into estimated savings of more than USD $29 million in utility costs for hotel owners in 2009.

Using LightStay, the Hilton properties reduced energy use by 5 percent, carbon output by 6 percent, waste output by 10 percent, and water use by 2.4 percent in 2009 over 2008. (Hilton engaged an independent auditor and adjusted the results for differences in occupancy levels and major weather events year over year.)

LightStay is an integral part of Hilton’s effort to implement sustainability practices in every aspect of their businesses—helping them to quantify their impact on the environment. Excited about their first year results, they have committed to using LightStay throughout their entire network by December 31, 2011.

LightStay measures indicators across 200 operational practices including housekeeping, paper product use, food waste, chemical storage, air quality, and transportation. The data inspired the Hilton New York to donate more than 5,000 pounds of leftover food to a local charity—food that would have gone to waste.

On the heels of this announcement, hotelworld Network blogger Jason Freed suggests an “Eco-Loyalty Program” for rewarding “eco-conscious travelers”. Freed proposes rewarding them for participation in various sustainability initiatives—particularly those in hotels, including a monitored-temperature program, towel and linen programs, recycling paper and plastic, eating organic in the restaurant, taking the hotel shuttle instead of a taxi, and having the receipt e-mailed instead of printed.

Sustainability is not just good for the environment, it’s also good for the bottom line. Given the tremendous cost savings for hoteliers and other businesses, we believe it is only a matter of time before we see these rewarding ideas implemented to effect all kinds of savings.