Professional Comment

How To Create A Better, Greener and More Energy Efficient Hospitality Business

y Tim Rook, Chief Markets Officer at Clade Engineering (

Whether you own a restaurant, hotel, pub or bar, hospitality businesses all have one thing in common – high levels of energy consumption. In fact, research from the Carbon Trust has found annual energy costs for the hospitality sector are more than £1.3 billion, resulting in carbon emissions in excess of 8 million tonnes per year. Forecasts indicate that, without action now, these numbers will continue to grow.

The good news is that reducing energy use makes great business sense. It can not only save you money, but also enhance your reputation amongst customers and help everyone in the fight against climate change.The hospitality sector is diverse, but there are several common areas where energy is wasted – notably, heating, lighting and hot water. Business owners should implement a mix of both short and long-term energy saving strategies to help reduce their carbon emissions. Low cost ‘quick wins’ can immediately improve energy use and costs, while long term solutions can provide savings of up to 25%.

If you’re not sure how to make a better, greener and more efficient business, the following swaps are a good place to start.

LED light bulbs – Lighting plays a key part when it comes to making your hospitality business attractive to customers, but according to research by the Carbon Trust, lighting can account for 25% of energy use in a typical pub. Switching your light bulbs to LEDs is one of the most straightforward ways to improve this – LED bulbs can reduce your lighting energy use by up to 80%.They were expensive when they first became available but costs have dropped significantly in recent years, and they last longer too.While a standard incandescent bulb has a lifetime of up to 3,000 hours, the equivalent LED bulb can last up to 75,000 hours. Not only do they have a long lifespan, but LED bulbs are adaptable and controllable too, meaning they can provide all types of lighting at a fraction of the impact on the planet, and your bottom line.

CO2 heat pumps – Guests expect a comfortable temperature, whatever time of year they’re visiting your business, but with heating and hot water accounting for more than 60% energy use in hospitality businesses, this can become a big drain on your finances, as well as the planet. In fact, if we want to meet the UK’s Net Zero 2050 target, we need to reduce heat emissions by 95%, and this means embracing new heating technologies. CO2 heat pumps are a green alternative to traditional heating systems as they don’t use any fossil fuels, instead generating heat using energy from natural sources. They’re a great option for hospitality businesses as they are the most scalable solution on the market right now and they’re effective too – recent reports have revealed that hotels with heat pumps use 20% less electricity on heating per square meter than those without.

Smart devices and sensors – Using lighting and heating in empty rooms can be a huge drain on energy. Installing occupancy sensors will ensure that lights are only on when someone is in the room, and they can be particularly useful in offices, toilets, corridors and storerooms.When it comes to controlling heating systems, programmable timing switches will give you the most flexibility, allowing you to set the temperature depending on the time of day and day of the week.They take some time to program initially, but once you’ve fine-tuned the settings they can result in significant savings. Finally, you can’t manage the things you don’t measure, so ask your energy supplier to install a smart meter to keep an eye on what has the biggest impact on your energy bills. Once you know what these are, you can take steps to reduce them.

Making your premises more energy efficient is easier with new builds, where sustainable options can be included from the outset, but equally there are many ways in which existing buildings can maximise their energy efficiency.While the initial costs can seem intimidating, any subsequent savings in energy costs will go straight on your bottom line. Putting sustainability at the heart of your strategy is not only good for your wallet, but necessary for the environment. After all, there is no planet B.