Why should hotels invest in efficient properties?

Radisson Blu Nairobi lobby

Radisson Blu Nairobi lobby

There’s a need in hotel construction for a move to more efficient buildings – particularly in hotter regions where HVAC energy demands can be high, but need to be reduced. Simple but clever design features can make this easier, saving precious resources and reducing carbon footprint.

On the 14th June, Bench Events & AES Conferences held two regional briefings in Nairobi covering the upcoming investment conferences, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (to be held in Kigali 10 – 12 October, 2017) & SPACE - investing in efficient properties (to be held in Nairobi 13 – 14 March, 2018).

The invitation only briefings have attracted over 100 key owners, investors and financiers and feature discussions on:

  • A review of key hotel performance indicators & pipeline with a focus on Kenya and East Africa.
  • East African pipeline and tourism activity driving investment opportunities.
  • JLL’s real time evidence on the return on investment for sustainable real estate projects.
  • Review of financial performance of investing & building efficiently (ROI & payback periods)

In advance of the briefing, SPACE interviewed Inge Huijbrechts (IH), Global Vice President of Responsible Business at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group on financial performance, challenges, efficiencies gained and payback periods when investing and developing efficient properties.

SPACE: Outside of important social and environmental objectives and more from a financial point of view, why is adopting green standards so important to Carlson Rezidor?

IH: Building and operating green hotels definitely has a clear business case. For example, we saved five million EURO in our leased properties by reducing our energy consumption by 24% over the last five years.

More importantly, green is durable – take LED lights – 95% longer lifespans so less maintenance is required.

Most importantly however, green investments are good for guest comfort. For example, if we install intelligent room controls for AC and ventilation in the rooms, we give clients the perfect tool to create a totally comfortable climate in the room and be very environmentally friendly.

We continue on our Think Planet journey to integrate energy and water saving innovations in our hotels and have committed to use EDGE for all our new hotel projects in emerging markets.

SPACE: What have been some of the efficiencies gained since developing the Radisson Blu in Nairobi hotel? Any pleasant surprises?

IH: The building is very efficient. According to the EDGE green buildings tool it is over 30% more efficient on energy and 50% on water.

Currently, about one year after the opening of the hotel, we continue to improve and fine tune its performance. We believe we can reduce the energy consumption by a further 10% by fine tuning the building management system and learning from operational data.

We are also going through a series of Energy kaizen programs in various hotels to ensure we use our existing hotel buildings in Africa in the most efficient way possible.

SPACE: Regarding payback periods, how would you compare your planned payback periods to existing ones? What has made the most significant financial difference?

IH: There’s a clear business case for building green – our successful Think Planet energy and water reduction programs have clearly shown that retrofitting is more expensive than building it in from the start. Retrofitting has longer payback times.

There’s a misconception of the extra costs required to design and build green. If it becomes part of the earliest stages of design and thinking of a building, building green can even be cheaper than building traditionally.

SPACE: How will the SPACE event in March assist Carlson Rezidor and your plans for the future in Africa?

IH: SPACE brings together a community of developers, investors and green building solutions providers to make green buildings in Africa feasible. It can be done, we have proven it with the Radisson Blu Hotels in Accra, Kigali and Nairobi. SPACE will help accelerate the movement.

Special thanks to Inge Huijbrechts and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group for their contributions to this article and the SPACE event.

Register here (with the CODE KRBSPC) by June 16 and receive 40% discount off the booking fee.

Contact Stephanie Morley stephanie.morley@aesconferences.com for more details on SPACE – invest in efficient properties or visit the website: www.space-conference.com 

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