U.N. Energy Efficiency Project Targets Hotels

The U.N. World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched a new project leading to at least 20 percent overall energy savings and increasing renewable energy use by 10 percent in hotels. It targets particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which represent the vast majority of hotel rooms in the accommodation sector and that can benefit from best practice trends and technology advances, according to a Nov. 13 press release.

The project brings together partners from the hotel, environment, and renewable energy communities and is supported by the European Union (EU).

Over half of the world's 5.9 million hotel rooms are located in Europe. 90 percent of these are in small and medium sized hotels, while the remaining 10 percent belong to major groups.

Energy efficiency and the enhanced use of renewable energies will have a special place in hotel management, considering that today small businesses are only marginal users of renewable energy resources and outdated technology makes them less competitive.

The project will create a toolkit to assist investment decisions; improve access to new technologies; and build support networks.

It will target savings from heating, cooling, lighting, washing, and drying in pilot hotels for at least 20 percent overall energy savings and increase renewable energies production by 10 percent.

As well as small and medium hotels, beneficiaries will include hotel associations, national tourism bodies, destinations and tour operators, as well as green technology suppliers and manufactures.

The project outcomes will be extended around the world and demonstrated on www.ClimateSolutions.travel.

Launching the project at World Travel Market, UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Professor Geoffrey Lipman said, "In our Davos Declaration Process on Climate Change we established a way forward for the tourism sector to become climate neutral in the front ranks of the global community. We have to start now and this project is exactly the kind of collaborative public-private initiative we shall be seeking around the world."

UNWTO's partners are the UN Environmental Programme, the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, and the European Renewable Energy Council.

The total value of the project is €1,148,092, with 75 percent being provided by the Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme, which recognizes the role of the tourism industry regarding energy efficiency policies in Europe. The remaining 25 percent is secured by the partner agencies.

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