• NH Hoteles, the benchmark hotel group in sustainability solutions, has implemented eco-efficient initiatives in all its establishments
• Its commitment to LED lighting, the creation of the first sustainable suppliers club and Cork2Cork are just a few of the projects that have contributed to delivery of NH Hoteles’ 2008-2012 environmental targets
Energy savings of 22.7%, water usage down by 27.6%, carbon emissions slashed by 40% and waste and waste generation reduction and recycling of 34.2%. So reads NH Hoteles’ environmental record. In just four years, it has smashed the targets laid down in its 2008-2012 Strategic Environmental Plan. Since its launch, the Company has earmarked over €4 million to financing environmental initiatives, of which 60% has gone to making its hotels more efficient.
Luis Ortega Cobo, SVP Environment & Engineering of NH Hoteles, said that the “objectives laid down in our plan of 2008 were very ambitious. Not only have we achieved them all today, but have done so well ahead of schedule. This would not have been possible without the contribution of the employees at all of our hotels who, thanks to ongoing training in this field, have proven capable of adapting to change and making this Company a sustainability benchmark in the tourism sector”.
A hotpot of sustainability measures
The Company has condensed all the sustainability initiatives undertaken by the Group during this period into the slogan Wake Up To a Better World. This commitment to efficiency and environmentally-friendly solutions is evident in the NH Hoteles’ environmental record and is the result of the direct involvement of senior management and indeed all the people working in the chain’s hotels, not to mention its guests.
Enhanced energy efficiency across NH Hoteles’ establishments translates into savings of close to 23%. To achieve this figure, the Company implemented a series of sustainability measures. The most noteworthy campaigns include the Relamping Project, which initially entailed switching one million conventional light bulbs for energy saving ones and later involved the rollout of LED technology in all hotels, representing savings of up to 70% in the energy used in illumination; the Eco Lifts project using OTIS technology, which implies energy savings of 1,200 kWh/year compared to traditional electric lifts and carbon emission savings of 1,200 kg per hotel per year; and the promotion of renewable energies, which are currently used in 69% of our hotels.
These measures combined to help make NH Hoteles the first hotel chain in the world to achieve ISO 50001 certification, the most important international Energy Management Systems standard.
Reuse by NH Hoteles
Another of the targets achieved by the Group is the 34.2% reduction in waste generation by means of waste recycling and reuse in the last four years. Cutting-edge projects such as Cork2Cork were key to this end. This pioneering initiative in the European hospitality segment collects and reuses bottle corks (the Company uses around two million corks a year). After processing, the corks can be reused to make panelling and insulation materials which mitigate the need for artificial temperature control in its buildings.
As for water savings, the installation of aerators, dual control lavatories and water saving devices in showers and wash basins helped cut water usage by 27.6%. In fact, NH Hoteles has signed an agreement with the ITA (acronym in Spanish for the Water Technology Institute) at Valencia’s Polytechnic University covering the joint research into water saving formulae designed to spur more responsible use of water in its hotel rooms.
Since the environmental targets were set in 2008, NH Hoteles’ carbon footprint has been pared back by 40%. The purchase of green energy in all its hotels in Spain, coupled with innovative initiatives such as the Carbon Footprint Calculator – a device on the Company’s website which enables guests to see the environmental impact of their travel and offers the chance to voluntarily offset their emissions – has facilitated delivery of this particular target.
The Ecomeeting service was also pivotal in achieving this savings result. This innovative concept implies respectful use of our limited energy resources, for example by using environmentally-friendly products during professional meetings. It also allows meeting planners so wishing to offset the carbon emissions generated by their events (including related travel) by means of a minimum surcharge as a function of the number of attendees.