In a ground-breaking collaborative exercise to reduce businesses’ energy expenditures, Hilton Worldwide took part in a Better Buildings Challenge SWAP to share ideas and experience with US grocery store Whole Foods Market.
The Better Buildings Challenge SWAP is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) which invited energy management teams at Hilton and Whole Foods Market facilities in San Francisco to tour each other’s businesses and exchange energy savings ideas. Better Buildings Challenge Director Maria Vargas said the programme was designed to see “leading organisations work together to find solutions and identify opportunities to save energy.”
Each team successfully found innovative ways to save energy in the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, a 1.8 million sq. foot hotel and Whole Foods Ocean Avenue, a 25,600 sq. foot grocery store. The results can be seen in a series of short films at http://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/swap .
As a leading member of ITP , Hilton is used to collaborating with business partners to improve sustainability throughout the industry. Maxime Verstraete, vice president of sustainability and ADA compliance for Hilton Worldwide said, “Hilton Worldwide is honoured to participate in the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP. In collaboration with Whole Foods Market, we're leading efforts to help others understand the role that energy management plays in achieving overall corporate sustainability goals.” Verstraete was joined on the SWAP by Vice President of Operations Randy Gaines, and Director of Property Operations at Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Brian Mork.
An important objective of the Better Buildings Challenge is to help companies reduce energy intensity across their building portfolios, and share successful strategies with their peers. Hilton Worldwide  has made significant progress toward reaching its Better Buildings Challenge commitment across 90 million sq. feet of hotel space. Hilton recently became the first hospitality company to have hotels, including Hilton San Francisco Union Square, certified to the DOE's Superior Energy Performance.
As a result of the SWAP, the Hilton Worldwide team has already begun implementing several recommendations, including LED lighting upgrades, door gasket replacements, and the phase-out of less efficient appliances within refrigerated containers at Hilton Union Square. The Whole Foods team is also exploring the implementation of employee engagement strategies inspired by what they saw at Hilton Union Square.
Lynn Orr, Under Secretary for Science and Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy said, “Healthy competition, along with a free exchange of ideas, has long been an essential part of energy innovation. Such an exchange created by the Energy Department provided a way for these leading corporations - which are already accomplished in energy management - to rethink some of their standard practices and push each other to do even better. A fresh set of knowledgeable eyes would likely help us all to be more efficient. That approach will help us address our world's most pressing energy challenges, and I thank Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market for taking part in this effort.”
Whole Foods Market  has employed a range of strategies to advance environmental stewardship across its portfolio of 370 buildings or nearly 13 million square feet and is already achieving 7 percent energy savings toward a 20 percent goal. During the SWAP, the Hilton Worldwide team uncovered lighting fixes, refrigeration savings through doors, and heat recovery improvements that could net positive energy savings at the Whole Foods Ocean Avenue store.
“It's exciting to be a part of the inaugural Better Buildings Challenge SWAP," said Tristam Coffin, sustainable facilities coordinator at Whole Foods Market. "While it's easy to think you've covered all the bases in your own facility, there is so much more to gain when you compare strategies and lessons learned with a team from a completely different line of work. Sharing best practices doesn't get more hands-on than this.”
The Better Buildings Challenge is aimed at achieving the goal of doubling US energy productivity by 2030 while motivating corporate and public-sector leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments. More than 285 organisations are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve 20 percent portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximise efficiency over the next decade. Across the US, partners have shared energy data for more than 32,000 properties and are reporting energy savings of 20 percent or more at 4,500 properties, and 10 percent or more at 12,000 properties.
To see the SWAP and the initiatives the teams took back to their own businesses, watch the short films here .