Countries and companies the world over are taking rapid responsibility to cut carbon emissions, and the hospitality sector is not far behind. A survey from Tripadvisor states that tourists are taking action themselves. Sixty-two per cent of travellers are opting for more environmentally friendly hotels, food and transportation, and 69% said they intended to make even more environmentally responsible travel choices.
With tourists and travellers taking steps, what does this mean for the hospitality sector? Hospitality companies are also implementing sustainable initiatives and operational practices to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve critical natural resources. Many of the firms are focusing on modifying operational processes, such as proactively reducing energy, lighting and water usage, as well as optimising climate control through environmentally friendly HVAC systems.
A positive consequence of these sustainable operational initiatives is the improved cost savings and overall profitability for the sector. A study by Forrester Research Inc. indicates that hospitality companies that implement sustainable HVAC and other day-to-day operations have realised benefits in areas such as improved efficiency (83%), regulatory compliance (76%), ability to attract guests/guest loyalty (75%), employee recruitment and retention (72%) and revenue growth (58%).
HVAC systems are the key drivers for carbon emissions in the hospitality sector. According to an industry report, HVAC systems in hotels are known to emit over 3.47 mega tons of carbon, annually, and consume over 40% of a building’s total energy use. Given this, the potential to enhance energy efficiency in hotels is huge through efficient solutions.
As such, several players in the field are now deploying smart and sustainable solutions that improve every aspect of the operation: Modernising the equipment and systems in the facilities, deploying technology that increases productivity, optimising the entire water utility and implementing renewable energy systems to cut carbon emissions. Most of them show a preference for pieces of HVAC equipment that not only offer efficient and reliable climate control, but also deliver cost-effective comfort and sustainable efficiency. The kind of air-cooled and absorption chillers and condensing units, to cite some instances, that offer the efficiency and intelligence to reduce energy consumption and emissions, while creating a more comfortable and sustainable building environment.
While the hospitality sector is doing its best to cut carbon emissions, the healthcare sector is also leading the march with its innovative strategies to achieve net-zero goals. On a global average basis, healthcare systems account for over four per cent of global CO2 emissions. For most industrialised nations, that figure is closer to 10% of national emissions. As such, demand for the healthcare industry to improve environmental sustainability, address net-zero-carbon emissions goals and to enhance building operations efficiency is growing. Healthcare decision-makers are starting to understand that making sustainability an organisational priority is not just a compliance requirement – it’s a competitive differentiator for their business. According to Forrester Research Inc, healthcare organisations that have implemented sustainable solutions have realised benefits across many areas of their business operations. The top benefits include reduced waste (87%), improved regulatory compliance (87%), improved efficiency (87%) and improved staff recruitment and retention (83%).
As healthcare organisations become more responsible, several of them are now adopting environmentally friendly measures, including green building design, climate-controlled HVAC systems, and the use of clean and renewable energy. Also, a lot of them are maximising the share of clean heat and switching to a fully electric vehicle fleet, innovating in drugs and developing next-generation products that can reduce carbon emissions.
In summary, planning strategically towards sustainable development and investing in energy efficiency can help the hospitality and healthcare sectors reach their goals of optimising facility operations, improving the patient experience and of promoting their business.
The writer is Strategic Accounts Director (MEA), Johnson Controls. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.