The International Tourism Partnership has launched issue 58 of Green Hotelier, a free online magazine that highlights best practice in sustainability in the hospitality industry. According to a 2009 report by the UK’s Investment Property Forum, new buildings represent only between 1 and 2% of total UK commercial building stock, therefore retrofitting existing buildings offers real potential to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency. The commercial and environmental imperatives for retrofitting are clear given that the building sector accounts for between 30 and 40% of global energy use.
The main feature highlights how to approach a retrofit, including assessing where the hotel’s biggest impacts are, and the best technologies to install to guarantee an improved environmental performance with the quickest return on investment. Full of practical case studies, the article shows that the key challenges of retrofitting hotels such as engineering, maintaining the brand values and ensuring the quality of the guest experience can be met successfully.
Retrofitting historic buildings can present particular challenges. Some solutions to improving the efficiency of period buildings are straightforward, such as upgrading appliances and using more energy-efficient lighting. Other options such as insulation and the incorporation of technologies including wind turbines and solar panels can be more problematic. The article also explores the barriers to green retrofits faced by hoteliers in emerging markets such as China and India. For example, in China there is a shortage of skilled staff to install and operate low-carbon retrofits.
Other features in issue 58 include: exploring opportunities for hoteliers to alleviate poverty and exclusion in the countries where they operate - focussing on Peru, a practical Know-how guide to designing hotel interiors, and an interview with the longest-serving CEO in the industry, Kurt Ritter, of The Rezidor Hotel Group, which delves into his approach to sustainability and embedding the Responsible Business programme into all levels of the business. Readers can contribute to the debate by taking part in topical discussions and voting in the latest poll: ‘Have hotels’ corporate responsibility efforts focused too much on environmental issues at the expense of social programmes?’