A new report, ‘Sustainability in hotels: opportunities and trends shaping the future of hospitality’, published 16 July 2019, from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), investigates the state of sustainability in the hotel sector. The report identifies best practices, highlights industry trends in sustainability, and offers solutions to sustainability-related challenges.
The report suggests that sustainable building practices are increasingly being incorporated through the hotel sector to add value, and provide a competitive edge to properties (source).
The global hotel industry comprises about 184,000 hotels, containing almost 17 million rooms, a number that has increased 17.7% from 2008 to 2018 (source). At the same time, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) estimates that hotels account for about 1% of global emissions, a number that is only expected to increase as the industry continues to experience growth and demand.
As Global ULI CEO, Edward Walter states, “sustainable design is what the market wants – younger and older generations place a high priority on green and sustainable development in how and where they live, work, and play.”
The report gives examples of opportunities that hotels can take to improve efficiency and sustainability, whilst achieving financial benefits, including in-room lighting, renewable energy installations and onsite compositing.
The hotel industry, however, faces a number of unique challenges, in implementing and improving sustainability performance, including a lack of utility data, complicated ownership models and structures, and concerns about improvements disrupting the guest experience.
Hotels are among the highest per square foot energy, and water users, of commercial buildings. Hotel carbon emissions vary by region, with hotels in Asia generally producing more emissions per occupied room, than hotels in Europe, and the Americas. Further, full service hotels produce more carbon emissions, by occupied room, in comparison, to limited-service hotels.