Hoteliers In Germany and Tanzania Lauded For Commitment To Energy Conservation

The winners of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association’s (IH&RA) annual Environmental Award, sponsored by American Express, were announced by Ejnar Söder, President of the IH&RA, during the IH&RA’s statutory meetings at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel in London.

London, 15 November 2001 – The winners of the International Hotel & Restaurant Association’s (IH&RA) annual Environmental Award, sponsored by American Express, were announced by Ejnar Söder, President of the IH&RA, during the IH&RA’s statutory meetings at the Radisson Edwardian Grafton Hotel in London. The winner in the Corporate category was Andreas Obrist, General Manager of the Intercontinental Leipzig, with Gerhard Schmidt, General Manager of The Westin Tokyo, being named runner-up. Sybille Riedmiller, Director of Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania, was named Independent Green Hotelier of the Year. Jan van Beurden, General Manager of Lions Dive & Beach Resort, Curaçao, The Netherlands Antilles, was chosen as the Independent runner-up. The judges also highly recommended the ongoing environmental efforts of The Orchid Hotel, India (1999 IH&RA Environmental Award Winner) and Scandic Hotels AB. The winners each received $2,500 and a certificate. The Green Hotelier and Restaurateur Environmental Award is awarded to hospitality professionals who provide outstanding examples of leadership in planning and implementing environmental actions, and a personal commitment to ongoing improvements in environmental performance and staff awareness. This year’s award focused on energy: applicants were invited to describe their efforts to increase energy efficiency and use renewable technology to reduce energy costs. Thirty two entries were judged by Oshani Perera, IH&RA representative, Yuri Toroptsov of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Annabel Gaywood of the International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI). Entries were assessed on the basis of efforts to benchmark, measure and monitor environmental performance, and in terms of the economic and environmental contribution of the hotel to the local community. Energy conservation at the Intercontinental Leipzig began in 1993 when Intercontinental took over management of the hotel. Since then, the hotel has successfully managed to reduce overall annual energy costs from DM3 million in 1993 to DM2 million in 2000, through a combination of 40 different in-house energy-saving projects. According to Obrist, all savings are the result of a great many small investments and maintenance of existing systems. “Energy saving projects can only be successfully implemented if existing machinery and equipment is maintained in optimum condition,” he explained. The range of actions implemented by the hotel to conserve energy include an air-conditioning system which uses the heat from the chillers to pre-heat hot water, thereby saving DM84,000 per year; motion detectors in the ballroom which have enabled the hotel to reduce the cost of lighting in the area by approximately 20-25 percent; and a ventilation unit which removes heat from electric transformers, thus reducing the load and producing annual savings of DM30,000. The hotel declares that the majority of its energy-saving projects have been discreetly introduced without impacting guest comfort. However, guests are reminded to switch off lights and taps when not required, and are requested to have their linen changed every other day. This measure alone has enabled the hotel to reduce the amount of laundry washed per day by 30 percent. The results of all energy-saving projects are shared with other Six Continents hotels in Germany. This has created a competitive spirit amongst the hotels, which in turn has resulted in further reductions in energy consumption and related costs across the board. Established in 1993, Chumbe Island Coral Park is an innovative private conservation project in Zanzibar/Tanzania that has created the first privately-managed marine park in the world. The company aims to create “a model of sustainable conservation area management, where ecotourism supports conservation and education.” With this in mind, all buildings on the island were designed in keeping with local architectural low-energy and low-input traditions, cultures and technologies, using environmentally-sustainable building materials and clean, renewable energy sources. Responsible energy management is a key component of Chumbe Island’s design and operation. Each guest bungalow functions as a self-sufficient unit that generates its own water and energy using rainwater collection and filtration, solar water heating and photovoltaic electricity panels. Furthermore, guests are offered solar-powered lanterns for use when walking about the property at night, which help to protect nocturnal wildlife from light pollution. The property also uses a cost-effective combination of charcoal stoves, kerosene and gas cookers for cooking energy, and avoids high-energy onsite refrigeration by purchasing food daily at local markets. Chumbe Island’s management estimates the payback period on its investment in renewable energy to be less than six months: “This example provides clear evidence that renewable energy installations can indeed pay for themselves in the short and medium term,” explained Riedmiller. * * * * * * * * * * Note: The International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) is a global network of independent and chain operators, national associations, hospitality suppliers and educational centres in the hotel and restaurant industry in more than 150 countries. As the voice of the industry it represents, protects, promotes and informs its members to enable them to achieve their objectives. American Express is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company, founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, travellers cheques, financial planning, investment products, insurance services and international banking. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nation’s environmental conscience. It acts as a catalyst for change and for sustainable development. UNEP Division of Trade, Industry and Economics (UNEP DTIE) brings together industry, governmental and non-governmental organisations to promote environmentally-sound industrial development. Created in 1992, the International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) is a non-profit, charity programme developed by the international hotel industry for the benefit of hotels and the environment. IHEI is a programme of The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum (PWBLF), founded and headed by HRH The Prince of Wales. The IHEI aims to promote the advantages of environment management as a fundamental part of running a successful and efficient hotel operation. CONTACT: Alain-Philippe Feutré Chief Executive Officer International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) Tel +33 (0) 1 44 89 94 00 (France) apfeutre@ih-ra.com