Taras Verkhoglyad
Sales Development Representative, Arloid Automation

Green Hotels: How to Become a Net Zero Hotel

All over the world, hotels are going green. Prompted by consumer demand and planetary crisis, hoteliers are taking steps to limit the impact of their operations. But what does it really mean to become a green hotel, and is net zero within reach for everyone?

Arloid is trusted by customers across the built environment to optimise their HVAC performance with advanced AI technology. Trained via Deep Reinforcement Learning, our AI is capable of driving energy savings for hotel businesses of up to 30%.

Here, we discuss the concept of green hotels and provide guidance on how to achieve net zero.

What is a Green Hotel?

A green hotel is a hotel that makes sustainability a core business focus. It will continually look for ways to reduce its impact on the planet, implementing a range of large-scale and small-scale strategies from installing double glazing to offering sustainable, refillable toiletries in rooms.

Green hotels might be designed green from the outset – built using eco-friendly building materials and designed with energy efficiency in mind. However, hotels can also become green retrospectively, implementing strategies and taking part in offset initiatives to reduce the business’ impact over time.

Learn more: Top 5 Energy Saving Tips for Your Building

Why Are Hotels Going Green?

Change is coming for the travel industry. Already, a growing concern for the climate is prompting hoteliers all over the world to address the energy efficiency of their buildings, and their environmental impact as a whole. Considering the fact that hotels produce 1% of greenhouse gas emissions, this is no easy task. In fact, hotels are reputed to be the worst performers when it comes to energy efficiency. But Net Zero hotels are possible.

And it’s not just the personal concerns of their owners; the green consumer is here, and they want to tread lightly on the planet when they travel. In fact, 83% of global travellers cite sustainability as a core concern. To appeal to a growing spectrum of people who think about the planet when choosing where to stay, going green is no longer an optional extra – it’s a commercial imperative.

What is a Net Zero Hotel?

Net zero essentially means no net difference – whether that be in terms of carbon emissions or energy demand. As such, a net zero hotel will balance its greenhouse gas emissions with offset schemes or other carbon-capturing initiatives, and consume no more energy than it produces itself or is available renewably from external providers.

To achieve this status, hoteliers must prioritise reducing and optimising energy demand through improving the energy efficiency of the building and its systems. Not only will this expediate the journey to decarbonisation, but it will also reduce utility costs. Hotel businesses looking to become net zero should always consider alternatives to carbon technologies at every turn, and compensate effectively for any unavoidable emissions.

Benefits of Becoming a Net Zero Hotel

Whether you just make your hotel business a little bit more sustainable or achieve official net zero status, there are some key advantages to take note of when you focus on going green.

  • Smaller Environmental Impact – if we are to meet the ambitious target of net zero by 2050, businesses in all sectors need to take action now. Becoming a green hotel means you will be part of the solution.
  • Reduced Energy Spend – optimising energy demand is at the core of net zero, turning it from a distant dream into a practical and achievable goal. And, by making your building more energy efficient, you will dramatically reduce your energy spend.
  • Attract the Green Consumer – as we’ve covered, consumers are looking to go green. With this trend only set to grow, the hoteliers who address their footprint now will have a clear competitive advantage in the market.

How to Cut Hotel Energy Costs Using AI

How to Become a Net Zero Hotel

On a practical level, how can net zero be achieved? Often, becoming net zero requires a holistic strategy, implementing a range of measures across every aspect of your hotel business. It will also require the motivation and support of staff – so make sure everyone is educated and involved in the transformation. Wherever you are in the world – whichever climate you operate in – net zero is within reach.

Encourage Eco-Friendly Travel

Indirect emissions contribute to the hospitality industry’s overall carbon footprint. How are guests travelling to and from your hotel, and could you do anything to encourage more sustainable travel? For example, you could install charging points for electric vehicles or offer secure bike storage for guests – or even provide free bikes for them to use during their stay.

Some taxi firms use eco-friendly or electric vehicles, and you could look to partner with them. You could also look to make public transport easy and accessible for guests – perhaps you provide information in all rooms about the local buses or metro stops nearby, or perhaps you offer a free collection service from the nearest train station. There are plenty of opportunities to explore.

Make Building More Efficient

Improving the energy efficiency of the building itself may pose significant disruption and investment, but it will make a real difference. Whether it’s retrofitting insulation internally or externally or replacing windows with double glazing, reducing heat loss and gain will dramatically reduce your reliance on heating, air conditioning, and ventilation (HVAC) systems.

Generate Your Own Power

Many hotels are taking the plunge and investing in solar, wind, and other renewable technologies in order to reduce the amount of carbon-derived energy they consume. The Marcel Hotel in New Haven, for example, generates all its own power using rooftop solar panels and solar parking canopies (source). You could also consider installing biomass boilers and use the hotel’s own waste to meet business energy demand.

However, if this investment is not practical for your business, that doesn’t mean decarbonisation is not an option for you. There are scores of energy providers who work exclusively with renewable technologies; do you research and make the switch.

Look at Your Lighting

If you haven’t already, you should replace lighting fixtures across the hotel with low-energy, LED alternatives. LEDs consume far less energy than traditional bulbs, presenting a sizeable opportunity to reduce energy consumption. For net zero to truly be within reach, our relationship with energy needs to change. To that end, implementing any measures and technologies that can limit demand in your hotel business is going to have a big impact.

Improve HVAC Performance

For many hotels, success is about providing the best levels of guest comfort possible. And guest comfort isn’t just about providing coffee making facilities and a luxurious bed; the thermal conditions of your hotel have a major role to play. Here, comfort is subconscious; it’s likely guests will only remember a sub-par experience – but that doesn’t make it any less vital.

Fortunately, as we observed in our previous article, guest comfort and energy efficiency don’t have to be at odds. Optimising your HVAC system with AI has the power to reduce your energy spend by up to 30%, as well as improve the experience of your guests.

Working in real time, with live data, the AI will determine the ideal settings for each thermal microzone, and work proactively to restore these when conditions change. As a result, you use exactly what you need to provide comfortable internal conditions, and nothing that you don’t. With zero initial investment required and energy savings possible within just 60 days, AI is offering hoteliers an easy way to cut carbon fast.

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Become a Net Zero Hotel with Innovative AI

Arloid is tackling the carbon footprint of the built environment one business at a time. Working with highly precise building models and real time data, our AI offers the best utilities optimisation for hotel businesses on the market.

If you’re ready to go net zero and start making tangible savings, get in touch with us today!

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