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The hotel, located in the suburban community of Concord in the East Bay of San Francisco, is owned and operated by Interstate Hotels & Resorts. Their aim with the programme is to reduce operating costs and create added asset value.
A key part of any new sustainability programme is the ability to record and report, so to help hotel management gain greater insight into the impact of their initiatives, Verdafero, a San Francisco based provider of software and services worked alongside Hilton Concord management and their consulting firm Hotel Sustainability Solutions, Inc. (HSSI), to implement the MyVerdafero – Utility Optimisation Software Platform.
“Real-time visibility and reporting of our sustainability has become an increasingly important part of our day-to-day hotel operations, not only in this hotel but throughout our entire organisation,” said Jack Hlavac, General Manager of the Hilton Concord, who leads the sustainability mission.
“As an example, with our commitment to sustainability we put measures in place across the hotel to increase our landfill diversion rate, which helps reduce our environmental carbon footprint. We have installed a bio-digester in the kitchen for all food waste from hotel operations as well as recycling all paper, cardboard, glass and plastic bottles. The result of our actions and using the MyVerdafero software we are now able to accurately track, analyse and report our waste disposal streams, energy use, water consumption and carbon footprint at the touch of a button rather than having to employ a spreadsheet expert to try and track all these metrics manually.
As of June 2013 we have seen an increase in our landfill diversion rate from 14.1% in June 2011 to 37% in June 2013 - equivalent to 13.3 tons of waste - that we have been able to keep out of the municipal landfill which reduces our waste disposal costs.”
HSSI offer comprehensive expertise and management of integrated sustainability systems, technologies and products for the hospitality industry, and they provided the interface and focus for the property systems development.
Chuck Smith, CEO of HSSI, said, “As government legislation and public opinion drive the need for a more sustainable future, leadership in sustainable hospitality practices is paramount in maintaining the competitive edge.
Hilton Concord has established itself as a recognised leader in sustainability, and now has the unique ability to further establish their competitive edge by tracking, analysing and reporting their utility usage and cost comparisons in real-time using the MyVerdafero software system.
This new and innovative tool gives management the ability to examine, compare and report all sustainability metrics within the hotel, evaluating their performance against past and current periods. A unique component of the system is its ability to adjust data for normalisation of weather and occupancy variations.”
As part of on-going upgrades, Verdafero has now incorporated the International Tourism Partnership’s global Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) methodology into their software. This enables the Hilton Concord to analyse and report their carbon footprint reduction on a real-time basis.
“The implementation of the HCMI methodology is a very important addition to Verdafero's software platform," said Smith. "Hotel marketing and sales teams now have the tools necessary to provide corporate meeting planners with carbon footprint on a per occupied room, per night or per meeting square foot data on a real-time basis. This is imperative for sales and marketing teams to win corporate business during these competitive times."
Using MyVerdafero, Hilton Concord’s management now have the ability to monitor, analyse and report on all of the hotel’s overhead utility expenses at the touch of a button.
Analysing electricity, gas, water and waste data as well as carbon footprint for a large hospitality property on a monthly basis can be very challenging. Individual utilities have inconsistent billing periods and operate on varying billing cycles further complicating the reporting process. Add into the equation different utility providers supplying the same resource, it becomes an even greater challenge.
This presents the end user with varying degrees of complexity when it comes to analysis and comparing their actual usage. This is resolved via cooperative efforts between the Verdafero team and hotel staff.
During initial discussions with Hilton Concord a number of issues were identified, including:
1. How will management be able to compare current month to last month?
2. How will management compare current results to the same month last year?
3. How will management compare results to the selected baseline, using the above parameters?
4. Does the difference in weather and occupancy affect property results?
5. How does the system adjust for these metrics variables?
6. The hotel’s sustainability efforts have become recognized by the travelling business and leisure community adding guest room and group meeting opportunities for our hotel. How will the model enable us to evaluate our impact on utility usage? How will it enable more accurate budget forecasting going forward?
7. Given our usage over the last year how does it relate to the new global Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI)? Will our calculations be a valuable tool for marketing and sales to garner added business opportunity?
The new software provides answers to all these questions. For example, Hilton Concord’s management can now see the results of all their sustainability initiatives. A quick analysis of a year-to-year electricity usage (kWh) comparison showed they have saved 3.7% since 2010.
Using the program to automatically analyse the usage data as well as weather and occupancy normalisation, they were able to reduce their energy consumption by 7.8% - equivalent to 51.5 tCO2e.
“As a result of using MyVerdafero, Hilton Concord will now have the ability to analyse its utility costs and compare the usage and costs by square footage, percentage of occupancy or across different time periods.
All levels of management may make more informed operational decisions to maximise Return on Investment decisions. The program provides a financial tool enabling management to more clearly understand the financial impact of their sustainability efforts, currently and going forward into the future.”, said Dr Alastair Hood, CEO of Verdafero.