University of Malta
Institute for Tourism, Travel & Culture
One of the best ways for tourist facilities to become more sustainable while decreasing cost and increasing profitability is to revise their energy consumption. This is often done by increasing the use of renewable energy to meet their electricity, heating and cooling needs. This is especially relevant in the coastal Mediterranean areas where solar energy can be captured with photovoltaic or solar thermal panels. Moreover, important cost reductions can be achieved by improving the energy efficiency of buildings and hotels. Such measures may foster employment since putting in place energy efficiency solutions requires a local workforce.
To support tourist accommodation, the UNWTO launched the Hotel Energy Solutions e-toolkit. This tool enables hotels to assess their current energy efficiency and carbon footprint, and offers them cost-effective energy solutions tailored to the hotel’s characteristics, geographical location, available natural resources, etc. Thanks to a return-on-investment-calculator, hotels can evaluate their best investment choices.
Between 2013 and 2016, the European Commission co-financed the project Nearly Zero Energy Hotels (neZEH) involving 16 hotels across seven countries, including coastal hotels in Spain, France, Italy, Croatia and Greece. The lessons learned from this project may encourage its replication in other Mediterranean countries. The goal of the project was to drastically decrease the operational costs of hotels by using best practice energy efficiency measures, using renewable energy sources, and changing the behaviour of staff and clients. The results show that on average across the 16 hotels, a 63% reduction in primary energy use can be achieved43. For instance, in the specific case of In the Arkadi Hotel in Chania, Crete, a 114 beds hotel, measures such as installing photovoltaic panels, installing double glazing or replacing incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED have been implemented. Thanks to these measures, it is forecast that the hotel will reduce its energy consumption by 70% and cover 50% of its energy use with renewable sources.