Are you in control of one of the highest costs to your hospitality business? When was the last time you took time out of your day to review the energy your hotel or restaurant uses?
After staff wages, your energy consumption could be one of the most significant costs to your business, yet, every week, I meet hospitality managers that don't have control over their energy consumption. I always found it funny; I spent 4 and a half years in hotel management - they told me how to budget, how to forecast, how to control staff wages. However, nobody ever told me that when I finally became a hotel manager, I would also be in charge of a building; a building that comes associated with high costs to run on energy, water and waste.
Your staff and saving money
In my early hotel management years, I was often assigned the early duty manager shift. Walking into work at 6.30am, your best buddy becomes the breakfast chef; they are the only ones up earlier than you! For years, I saw breakfast chefs arrive on duty and turn all the lights on, all the ovens on, extractor fans, grills, fryers. It's like an automation - you come in, and you switch everything on just to be ready for the long day ahead.
Decide when you spend money - don't leave it up to your team. The costs of having the main oven on when it's not needed are much higher than you might think. Say your main oven uses 31.8 Kwh, your electricity unit price is €0.14. Switching off your oven for just one extra hour a day can save you €1,624. And that is only one machine - imagine the savings you could achieve if you used all your equipment for one hour less every day? We often forget that our team are making decisions for us, as to when to spend money. Allowing them to decide when to use the equipment, when something should be put in the bin, or when to leave that cold water tap running to cool down the pasta, is essentially costing YOUR BUSINESS money.
Now, you would not allow your team to decide how much they should get paid, so why do you allow them to determine how much energy you need to use?
Carbon footprint or cost control?
Energy use is the largest source of carbon footprint generation from our business - so it is not just a question of cost; it is also a question of ethics. The whole world is watching today's children, activists and scientists telling us we are facing the biggest crisis humanity has ever seen. Whether you believe in climate change or not - is it not our duty, as managers, to ensure our business only produces the carbon footprint that it actually requires to operate? Using more energy than you need to, is not only a waste of carbon, it is also a waste to your bank account. So whatever reason you chose to motivate yourself, they are both worth a small change in mindset.
How to take control of your business energy consumption
Fixing this problem is much easier than you think. I am not an advocate of large investment projects to start with - yes, it would be wonderful if we could all afford to retrofit our buildings, to build solar panels and windmills, but not everyone can afford that right now. So start small, generate some savings, and use those savings later for larger projects.
Small changes can make a huge difference. Here are some top-line tips to get started:
1. Spend time analysing your energy bills, electricity, gas, oil - do you understand with clarity what you have been charged for?
2. Start monitoring your consumption, on a daily, weekly or at least monthly basis.
3. Write down procedures of turning equipment & lights on and off, train your team and ensure they comply.
4. Walk around your business and ask yourself - do I need that machine on right now to make money?
5. Check your boiler settings and efficiency. What temperature are you heating water at?
The reality is if I was to ask those question to 100 hospitality managers, only about 5 of them would have already done this. I know I would not have been able to say yes to the above points myself during my years as a hotel manager. It is kind of out of sight, out of mind.
When I first got involved in the green hospitality world, we started introducing really small actions to our daily tasks. We studied our energy bills, we got better deals, we took control of when and where we used energy, we created an energy team, and we changed our lightbulbs over time. None of those actions costs us a fortune, but in 24 months since the start of our hotel green program, we had reduced our energy consumption by 30%!!
What would savings mean to your business?
Can you afford to ignore your energy consumption? Running a green hotel is not just the 'nice' thing to do - it is the 'smart' thing to do.
If you want to learn all the actions I implemented to achieve those results, check out the Fifty Shades Greener Energy Reduction online training course on my website - https://www.fiftyshadesgreener.ie/energy-reduction.