How Green is your industry?

12 October 2006
How Green is your industry?

Most operators have put some environment-friendly practices in place, but many feel they could do more, as we found out in our exclusive research.

Caterer surveyed hospitality businesses online for its Green Month in an attempt to uncover attitudes within the industry on environmental issues and practices. More than 400 hospitality businesses answered the questionnaire (with hotels accounting for 25% of all respondents) on topics such as recycling, energy efficiency, alternative energy sources and waste management. Here's what we found:

Within our 400 businesses, 62% of hospitality managers felt their businesses were environmentally friendly, but admitted they could do more. Just over 28% said that they were doing as much as possible, while only 10% said green issues were not a priority for them.

On energy saving…

  • 39% have had an energy audit in the past 12 months, with 27% planning one in the coming year; 20% have no intention of having one conducted.
  • As a result of an energy audit, 61% say they have increased recycling, 54% have turned their heating down and 51% have employed "switch off" policies. However, only 10% have tackled water consumption by encouraging their guests to shower rather than take a bath.
  • 68% admit that they always leave their TVs on stand-by.
  • 75% encourage their staff to close external doors and windows when heating or air conditioning is on.
  • 37% have effective draught stripping around doors and window but only 20% of those with cavity walls have modern fibre insulation.
  • 84% turn heating off in summer and 58% make use of natural ventilation.
  • 78% say their staff are aware of the different ways in which they can reduce energy costs.
  • 65% have personnel responsible for monitoring energy consumption.

Environmental awareness…

  • In the next 12 months, 75% of businesses surveyed intend to increase recycling, and 40% intend to employ "switch off" policies.
  • 66% recycle glass bottles, 23% recycle plastic and 74% recycle paper.
  • However, only 11% hope to start composting waste, and even fewer (7%) intend to install a grey water system, which re-uses all waste water except toilet waste.
  • 37% estimate that at least half of all their guests waste energy, with 5% believing this figure is closer to 90% of all guests; 18% of businesses believe their guests do not waste any energy.
  • 42% promote themselves as environmentally responsible, but only 6% have taken advantage of the interest-free loan offered by the Carbon Trust to purchase energy efficient equipment.

The worst example of energy waste seen in the past 12 months…

  • "Nobody noticed our hotel boilers were on in July. Every radiator in the building had been turned off by accommodation staff because the rooms were too hot, but the boilers were heating the return water 24/7."
  • "Our security team requires that all lights in the office be kept on at night so that the security cameras can function."
  • "We take daily delivery of small purchases from a supplier rather than a bigger drop. The company insists on having 100% menu availability from start to finish, meaning a 10% wastage every day."
  • "I visited a hotel in Warwick in the heat of summer and they had central heating on full to dry out a water spill they had had."
  • "General inability to educate students in energy saving methods at the local college where I work or put necessary thought into improving energy waste levels."
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