Environmental sustainability is concerned with the development using the natural resources to satisfy the requirements of the present generation without limiting the capability of meeting the needs of the future generations. The need for sustainability arises because most of the resources are constrained by the growing world populations and can be depleted easily if not consumed in a sustainable manner (Kaya & Yokobori, 1997). Some of these resources include clean water, energy, mineral resources among others. This paper analyses the sustainability of energy with focus on how Bed and Breakfast hotels can maintain their operations through efficient use of energy.
Energy efficiency and sustainability requires changes in the supply of energy, the way it is used, and minimizing the amount of energy needed to produce various goods or services. The reduction in consumption has economic benefits. This is because efficiency reduces energy demand growth, while the supplies of renewable clean energy can reduce the dependency on fossil fuel. This means that energy sustainability needs the commitment in efficient use and use of renewable sources that are implemented by both the government and private sector.
Global climate change, intertwined with high oil prices are some of the motivating factors to sustainable energy solutions. Climate change results into among other things reduced rainfall and subsequent reduction in the generation of hydropower, which is considered as one of the renewable energy. This calls for energy diversification into more renewable sources and efficient consumption of the supplies (Nelder, 2009).
This is the interrelation between the society, economy and environment in the efforts relating to environmental sustainability. The three are elements of sustainability programs and are affected by absence of energy. Sustainable communities also involve participation of all elements of society through training and decision-making processes. The environmental sustainability must be adopted by all members of the society for the efforts to fruitful, to ensure no waste of the resources (Kaya & Yokobori, 1997).
Advisory Park for the Castle Perch B&B Hotel
In the hospitality industry, the major elements of sustainability are water and energy consumption by both the guests and hotel staff. Bed and Breakfast hotels operate by booking in guests for night accommodation and provide them with breakfast as part of the package. During their stay, they access room facilities that include warm water bath, lighting system, communication services through installed phone systems, television sets, and laundry services such as ironing of clothes. The guests also have the choice for meals prepared by the hotel staff. These services usually lead into consumption of a lot of energy, prompting the need to use renewable energy and improved sustainability, to ensure that the costs of service provision are minimized. Many hotels around the world have fully adopted the sustainability campaign and practices and are already reaping the fruits. Castle Perch therefore, needs to consider the following measures and practices in their operations to become more sustainable and competitive in the busy industry.
Adoption of the Reduce, Re-use and Recycle (3 R) strategy
This is the best starting point that the Castle Perch B&B hotel management should begin the sustainability practices by implementing Reduce, Re-use and Recycle (3Rs) strategy (Nelder, 2009). Reduce; involves decreasing consumption by avoiding unnecessary, avoidable and wasteful power or water use, For example, the hotel needs to consider shopping for food items locally to reduce the cost of fuel during transportation. The hotel can as well avoid the use of disposable items like the plates and mugs, but instead utilize the reusable items that can be cleaned for re-use such as beddings, towels and utensils among others. This will help cut the cost of service. Recycling on the other hand involves items that cannot be reduced or reused. This is can be employed in a case where the hotel produces bottled soft drinks like juices and water. Such bottles can be recycled to minimize the costs of production.
How to Reduce Energy Usage
In the planned renovation and replacement of the outdated infrastructure, Castle Perch hotel management should consider replacing the high voltage light bulbs with low energy bulbs to reduce light consumption. For example, they can fit 20W bulbs, which are equivalent to 100W incandescent bulbs. This will be a good starting point because low energy bulbs do not emit heat, thus can use a higher wattage than recommended without scorching the shade. The installations may involve fitting to LED light bulbs in the lobbies, guestrooms and hallways, as well as using sensors and timers in the areas the areas rarely used that automatically turns off bulbs when not occupied.
They can also use thermostatic valves that are fitted to radiators, to allow turning off in rooms not in use. The management should also encourage the clients to turn off their standbys at night when not in use such as TV, DVD player, video, among others and the staff to ensure that lights, air conditioning and kettles in unoccupied guest rooms are turned off. The staff should also turn off the drapes in the unoccupied rooms especially during summer. For this reason, community efficiency is vital in ensuring energy sustainability. It becomes easier and effective if the customers are environmentally sensitive and when involved in the process. During the intended replacement and renovation, the management should consider changing the current boilers which are energy-efficient preferably avoiding the use of condensing boilers, which are hard to heat. Equally, there is need to replace the appliances with the ones rated as energy efficiency. For example, the management can consider purchasing Energy Star appliances, which conserve energy, but give maximum results. They should replace old washing machines with both water and energy sustaining models during the planned major infrastructure innovation. These measures and practices when fully adopted will considerably reduce the amount of power consumption, thus making Castle Perch B&B Hotel more sustainable.
Renewable Energy Solar Hot Water facility
Solar energy is one of the widely used renewable energy that has been adopted by many players in the hospitality industry. Castle Perch should as well install solar panels on the roof tops to be used for lighting and water heating, both for the guest rooms and for the kitchen use, in the next infrastructure upgrading plan planned for next year. This will help the hotel reduce their power bills and carbon emissions, hence becoming environmentally sustainable (Strong & Scheller, 1993). Water heating is the largest energy consumer in hotels including Castle Perch and one of the major greenhouse gas single source emission points. Therefore, installation of a climate friendly hot water system powered by clean renewable energy instead of the electric storage hot water system will help the hotel substantially to reduce the amount of dollars spent on power bills. This water heating includes bath water in the guests rooms, for kitchen use and for the swimming pool, but ensuring that the hot tubs remain covered when the pool is not in use.
How to Reduce Water Usage
Other than the power consumption, it is possible to reduce the amount of water consumed. This can be done by advising the guests and the employees to use a tooth mug while cleaning their teeth but not to leave the tap running. The chefs should also be advised to only warm water needed for making required quantity of tea. This will guard against wasting power for boiling water that much of it cools before it is used. When guests are using power shower, they should be advised to avoid running it at full speed.This is because the shower running at maximum speed ends up wasting much of the water. For example, a 5-minute shower running at maximum setting on branded power showers, uses approximately 59 liters of water, while normal consumption is below 20 liters per bath. If this measure is not implemented, the excess water plus the energy used to heat it is wasted that easily. This will not be sustainable if replicated by several guests.
Other Sustainable Practices
Management to fit window films to reduce heating and cooling loads and minimize brightness in guestrooms. This will lead to reduction in the use of cooling or heating system
The guest’s rooms, public lobby, restaurant and bar at the Castle Perch should use daylight entirely as much possible during the day. At the top rooms, installation of skylights should be done to lighten the rooms. This will reduce the need for lighting during the day, hence conserving the energy (Nelder, 2009).
Being that Castle Perch is located in the countryside, the hotel should consider planting an organic garden that can provide fresh produce for their guests without incurring transport cost when purchased from far distances. During the innovation, powered exit signs should be replaced with Light Emitting Diode (LED) exit signs that don’t use any power. These reflect the lights to give directions the exiting cars.
There should be an installation of Energy Management System (EMS) to tie in air handling units, HVAC, and lighting to avoid conditioning space when it is not necessary. They should also monitor, record and post rates of energy and water use, then make repairs or replace the faulty equipment when the rate changes indicate problems
The management team should create motivation program to encourage the staff to participate in environmentally-friendly practices by rewarding the best performers. This will improve employee consciousness in sustainability practices.
The hotel should always encourage an energy audit through the local energy provider or a local energy auditor to assess the level of consumption of energy. The recommendations will help rate the performance in relation to the capacity of the hotel. In case the consumption is still higher than the marginal capacity, further reduction is encouraged.
Practical Implementing of the Sustainable Practices using ISO 14001-EMS
The first step for the Castle Perch B&B hotel management is to set the environmental targets to be met, which should be energy sustainability. This is done by carefully assessing the needs of reducing energy consumption based on the operations and activities necessary to implement and to ascertain their environmental impact. The environmental impact and protection must be widely considered to include minimizing pollution of air and water, waste management and sustainable use of energy which is the core of this research paper. This implementation of the practices should be in two parts;
The first part involves the short term measures that can be implemented immediately. The management should consider reducing power consumption by ensuring that lights that are not needed are turned off, the chefs only warm water enough for their immediate use, advising the guests to turn off the standby items in their rooms especially at night, not to use full speed showers that currently waste several liters per bath and to consider replacing the high voltage bulbs (Strong & Scheller, 1993). These are short term measures, since they only require communication to both the staff and the guests. Long-term sustainable practices include; infrastructure innovations to fit in the solar panels, sky roof tops and replacement of the appliances that consume much energy.
Implementation and maintenance of EMS using ISO 14001 involve several issues that include: commitment of the executive, total involvement of all the firms’ personnel, effective communication between the stakeholders, managerial responsibility, adequate training of the employees to fully implement the practices, system documentation, and system review and update (Alan, 2004).
Successful implementation and operation of the above energy sustainable practices require full commitment of the executive management of Castle perch. They must fully provide the financial resources needed, besides leading the energy sustainability transition. The finances in this case include cost of installation of energy saving bulbs, solar panels for lighting, heating and kitchen use, majorly in the planned major infrastructure innovation, and staff trainings on how to fully implement the sustainability programs in their departments. Lack of commitment by the executives will lead into slow adoption of the plan by the subordinate staff. It is the therefore, management’s duty to ensure that environmental protection and energy sustainability is not only the concern of the directors, but the responsibility of all since they affect their work directly.
This entails complete adoption of the practices by all the departments of the hotel. ISO 14001 outlines that the efficiency in operation of the company should be the responsibility shared by everyone in the company (Alan, 2004). Every person has a impact to make, even as insignificant at it may be. For example, turning taps off to evade wasting water, switching off lights to minimize energy consumption, especially in the rooms not occupied or during day time along the pathways when there is enough daylight. The total involvement can be achieved through motivating the staff through recognition of the lowest efforts made.
This is a very important aspect of implementation of the sustainable practices that require that the environmental sustainability policies are communicated to all the involved parties, both in vertical and horizontal dimension, to ensure that everyone is aware of what is expected of them. The Johnsons who are the directors in the Castle Perch B&B hotel should ensure that every individual knows the change in consumption plan in all the energy elements, and the benefit expected from their actions. This can effectively be done through arrangement of meetings with all the departments to explain the environmental issues, discuss performance targets expected of every department, describe improvement plans, and report on progress made. This communication should also take place between departments.
Management of EMS
For effective monitoring of the implementation, operation and review of an EMS, Castle Perch management needs to assign an individual as the in charge. This is to ensure that there is no gap in management of the sustainability programs. The assigned individual may delegate some of the responsibilities regarding specific aspects of the environmental sustainability policy to other personnel, but remains the head of the plan.
The Management of EMS ensures that operation of all the elements of sustainability and personnel involved in the plan work efficiently within the cost-estimates prepared at the design stage of the system. It also ensures that all staffs involved are well trained to implement the EMS. The other role of management is also to ensure that EMS interacts positively with all the company management.
Documentation involves production of a manual either in electronic or paper form that the employees can refer for guidance on policy. This manual outlines the EMS procedure and describes the purpose and benefits of the system as well as the energy reduction and maintenance targets (Alan, 2004). This should include the practices necessary for the reduction of water and energy use both by the clients and the staff, and the manual of operating the solar energy system including the hardware designs showing complete drawings, operational guidelines, running cost, purpose of installations (Alan, 2004).
The staff needs therefore to be trained on the documentation needs, especially those involved in the designing, operating, implementing and maintenance of EMS (Alan, 2004). This will equip the individuals in all departments on the relationship between their activities and the prospective environmental effect.
System review and update
This is the last stage of implementation that involves evaluation of the performance of the EMS whether the practices have achieved the intended objectives of reducing energy consumption to the sustainable levels. It also gives room for updating the systems. This is done by regular auditing of the energy system whether meeting the environmental sustainability standards specified by the ISO 14001.
Cost Estimates for the Measures
The use of low voltage bulbs such as 20W bulbs which are equivalent to 100W incandescent bulbs in all the guest rooms and the corridors will help reduce the lighting energy consumption by nearly 60%. Equally, when all customers are advised to use low speed showers, every customer will save averagely 39 liters of water per bath that translates to approximately 50% energy consumed in water heating for the showers. The move to use insulated roofs reduced heating by the chefs, turning off the lights during the day and in unoccupied rooms, all combined have the ability to reduce energy consumption of Castle Perch by more than half.
The installation of the renewable energy solar source at the roof tops and the replacement of the appliances including boilers will reduce the current electricity bills by almost 70%. This is because the major energy consumer in Castle Perch bed and breakfast hotel is water heating. If this consumption is fully covered by the renewable energy, the hotel will reduce its overall consumption by approximately 60%. This will make Castle Perch energy sustainable.
Environmental sustainability is very important in ensuring continuity in operations of the present and future generations. With the current climatic changes, sustainability of resources including water and energy has become a top priority of the world. Castle Perch bed and breakfast hotel needs to adopt sustainable practices and renewable energy sources like solar panels for heating water which is the biggest power consumer and for lighting (Strong & Scheller, 1993). Environmental management systems adopted through ISO 14001 standards will help the hotel be environmentally sustainable with special focus on energy sustainability (Alan, 2004).