By: Zoritsa Urosevic, UNWTO
The hotel industry is one of tourism’s largest drivers of economic growth, employing millions worldwide in a wide range of positions. It is also one of the most energy-intensive, accounting for around one-fifth of the tourism sector’s CO2 emissions. Tackling tourism’s environmental impact is one of UNWTO’s top priorities and the organization is working closely with the hotel industry to bring this figure down.
Since early 2011, UNWTO has been helping hotels go green through the Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) project, Europe’s largest hotel energy initiative, which aims to increase energy efficiency in European small- and medium-sized hotels by 20 percent and their use of renewable energy by 10 percent, demonstrating that economic growth and sustainability can and should go hand in hand.
Thousands of hoteliers have already registered to use the HES E-toolkit, a free online tool which evaluates the energy consumption of their hotel and identifies more sustainable energy options, thus helping hoteliers to cut costs and increase competitiveness.
Co-funded by the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation and implemented in partnership with UNEP, the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), the HES E-toolkit provides hoteliers with a report showing how much energy is being used per square meter, per year, per night and per room; how it compares with other properties of the same type; and, most importantly, the scope of possible savings. It further recommends appropriate energy saving technologies and actions, and sets out what kind of savings on operating expenses hotels can expect from green investments.
The HES project is enjoying all the more attention in 2012 with World Tourism Day (WTD) being celebrated under the theme ‘Tourism and Sustainable Energy’, in line with the 2012 United Nations International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. WTD is an opportunity to highlight the steps being taken by the tourism community to develop and deploy clean energy solutions, and the HES project has been identified by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, as one such solution. More information on World Tourism Day can be found here.
Furthermore, the Spanish version of the HES E-toolkit will be officially launched on the occasion of WTD, making the tool accessible to thousands more in Europe and beyond and taking the hotel industry one step closer to a brighter energy future.
For more information, please contact Zoritsa Urosevic, Programme Coordinator/Institutional and Corporate Relations, UNWTO or visit www.hotelenergysolutions.net.