If a hotel wants to eliminate energy waste, it first has to know how much energy it is wasting. Sounds simple enough, but for most hotels, calculating their energy usage and where they can more efficient is an inexact science. At Hilton properties, that process recently became easier to calculate with the unveiling of “LightStay” the company’s proprietary system developed to analyze environmental impact.
“The purpose of LightStay is to quantify the measures of sustainability to help our owners, stakeholders, and guests understand these measures in a way that can not only drive hotel performance, but also delivery a great guest experience,” says Christopher Corpuel, Hilton’s vice president of sustainability. “Ultimately, what it is about is how we can quantify and then integrate it into great guest experiences.”
Hilton properties enroll in the program and input their date in a systematic process. The data is aggregated into dashboards and reports, allowing the hotel to continuously evaluate and improve performance.
In the first full year of findings, Hilton says that results show that the 1,300 properties using the system so far conserved enough energy to power 5,700 homes for a year. They also saved enough water to fill 650 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and reduced carbon output equivalent to taking 34,865 cars off the road. Reductions in water and energy use also translated into an estimated savings of $29 million in utility costs in 2009.
Corpuel says that efficiency has always been important. “Utilities are one of a hotels largest spend items,” he says.
Corpuel says the LightStay has been in the works for over the last several years. “We collectively got together and started to think about how we could really elevate efficiency to the next level and really aggregate it into one central platform,” he says. “We put together this common system that can be used all across the world to maximize performance.”
LightStay is now a global brand standard for all Hilton brands and hotels. Corpuel says that by the end of next year, all hotels within the system will be required to measure performance.
And, Corpuel says quantifying energy usage is vital. “The easy answer is if I reduce my energy and water usage than I’m reducing my costs,” he says. “But there’s also revenue opportunities such as with group travelers where it can become a buy decision—our ability to quantify and report what we’re doing. There are also risk issues, primarily legislative risks, where there are mandates for building codes or to take advantage of rebates.