Sustainability: How reliant are you on scarce resources?
There are numerous reasons why sustainability should matter to you and your establishment. Not only is sustainability increasingly becoming a deciding factor for guests when choosing between accommodation options, but it also means long-term savings if implemented wisely. The main reason, though, is that it is absolutely the right thing to do – just as every person has a responsibility to do their part for the planet, businesses play an even larger role as they can make an impact quickly.
The hotel is an ecosystem, and while we pay a lot of attention to what happens within our property’s walls, we forget that sustainability involves not just us, but all of the suppliers and partners that hotel’s use and associate with.
How reliant are you on scarce resources?
There’s a reason why resources such as water and electricity derived from coal are called ‘scarce’ – there is a finite amount of these resources on the planet. We only notice our reliance during the lean times – energy-usage was brought into sharp focus during the load-shedding days, and now water usage is bearing the same scrutiny. Many businesses will already have looked at initiatives that reduce water and energy usage, such as implementing low-energy electrical systems, adding low-flow shower heads, and asking guests to keep their showers short and their linen unwashed. Realistically, though, hotels go through a huge amount of water and electricity. And while you’re not going to be able to do without them entirely, you need to look at ways to decrease your reliance on these scarce resources.
One of the key ways to reduce the amount of water and electricity you use is to implement environmentally-friendly technology, though some businesses might balk at the cost involved. Cost is obviously a huge factor for most establishments when moving towards sustainable practices, but when dealing with scarce resources it’s a good idea to play the long game. Environmentally-friendly technology might come at a cost, but when you look at the price of electricity and water, and how both these resources are on an upward trajectory, you can no longer afford to live in the short-term. Simply put, water and electricity are going to continue to rise in costs, so the sooner you invest in equipment that uses less of these resources, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.
To see how much electricity and water you use, you really need to monitor your utility usage and see which sections of the hotel are using the most. When you find the culprit, investigate the relevant options available to you to reduce your usage.