Spanish hotels to get energy-efficiency revamp

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Spanish hoteliers can now give their buildings an energy-efficient revamp with the help of an online tool calculating their needs, costs and investment returns.

The online tool was developed by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and is co-funded with the help of the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI), a body which is responsible for action in the fields of energy, entrepreneurship and innovation on behalf of the European Commission.

The Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) E-toolkit, which is already in place in France, Germany and Bulgaria, will evaluate the most optimal energy-saving solutions for Spanish hoteliers based on previous specific inputs by other hotel owners.

"Thousands of hoteliers have already accessed the English version of this free tool, saving money and mitigating their environmental impact,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, speaking on 27 September in Madrid, Spain, on occasion of the 'World Tourism Day 2012'.

“With its launch in Spanish, thousands more now have the same opportunity and responsibility to bring down their carbon emissions,” Rifai said. 

Hotels and other such types of accommodation account for 2% of the 5% global CO2 emitted in tourism.

The HES focuses only on the small and medium European hotels, because according to its founders "SMEs are usually less proactive about the environment in comparison to larger hotel chains". The aim is to increase their energy efficiency by 20% and their use of renewable energy by 10%. 

The hotel managers who will use this e-tool will have to draw a report on the hotel's current energy performance status, on the basis of which they will receive suggestions for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.

Managers will then be able to use a cost calculator online to check the size of the investment needed for their building and the amount of time it will take to recoup it. This will show them whether it is financially worthwhile to invest in energy efficiency or renewable energy solutions. 

“Many in the tourism industry have already shown leadership in developing and deploying clean energy solutions, cutting energy consumption and carbon emissions in some regions by up to 40 per cent through initiatives such as the Hotel Energy Solutions toolkit,” UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said.

Spanish Province of Valladolid (Diputación Provincial de Valladolid) was the first to launch the initiative.

“It allows us to work on and develop four essential pillars of our institution: the promotion of the Spanish language, tourism promotion, the use of new technologies and the increase in energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in the tourism sector," the council's president, Jesús Julio Carnero, said.

Hotel Energy Solutions (HES) is Europe’s largest hotel energy initiative and aims to increase energy efficiency in European small and medium hotels by 20% and their use of renewable energy by 10%.

Initiated by the UNWTO, the project is co-funded by the European Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation and implemented in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA), the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).

The project seeks to bridge the existent gap between available Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy technologies and their actual use in SMEs.

HES was created in response to the EU's targets at the Davos Process 2007, which asked for actions to be taken in the tourism sector. Some of the main goals were:

  • adapting tourism businesses and destinations to changing climate conditions
  • mitigating greenhouse gas emissions
  • supporting investments in energy efficiency and usage of renewable energy resources and technologies.

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