EmiratesGBC provides guidance on water, energy use for UAE hotels

EmiratesGBC provides guidance on water, energy use for UAE hotels
EmiratesGBC provides guidance on water, energy use for UAE hotels

A news release from Sept. 29 suggests that by decreasing energy and water consumption, many hospitality businesses in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could save up to one-fifth of the money they spend to keep their hotels running.

A study compiled by the Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) looked at 46 hotels in the Emirates from 2013 to 2015.

For indicators, the study found that the age of the hotel was an important factor; however, study spokespersons claimed that the hotel quality or number of awarded stars did not have a consistent impact.

Speaking to the Gulf News Journal Thursday, EmiratesGBC Chairman Saeed Al Abbar revealed more about what's happening in the regional hospitality industry.

“The hoteliers have responded positively to the study, as the findings will serve as a reliable indicator for the industry to reduce its carbon footprint by improving water and energy performances,” he said. “We are thankful to the participating hotels for their commitment and resolve to enhance their energy and water use efficiency standards. The study will inspire and enable them to observe best practices in energy and water efficiency.”

Al Abbar also spoke about the report methodology, which he said was founded on statistical observations on data from the participating hotels. Moreover, he said research teams also “normalized” data to make it more accurate.

“For example, to ensure accurate energy benchmarking, the annual energy consumption values were adjusted to normalize the difference between the climates of each Emirate within the UAE,” Al Abbar said. “Generally, the climate of the UAE is very hot and humid, thus the energy required for air conditioning is considered as the major contributor to a building’s total energy consumption.”

Al Abbar said with the data in hand, teams compared the consumption of best practice hotels to poorly performing ones according to very specific metrics such as correlation factors and confidence intervals of means.

“Across the board, we used scientific practices in benchmarking the performance of the hotels,” he said.

In addition, Al Abbar discussed ways that the study will help hotel businesses become “active partners” in national sustainability objectives.

The first, he said, involves resources for individual hotels.

“All participating hotels have been provided with individually tailored benchmarking scorecards that will help them to make enhancements to their energy and water use protocols, and will help support them in their strategic initiatives -- both technical (involving retrofits or audits) and behavioral (education and training),” Al Abbar said.

Outside analysts can use the data, as well, he pointed out.

“The findings of this report can be used by government entities, tourism authorities and hotel decision makers to better understand the current performance of the local hospitality sector and to assist them in developing and implementing innovative policies that advance the efficiency of the sector,” Al Abbar said.  

In terms of the national economy, Al Abbar hopes that with hotels making enhancements to their energy and water use policies, the country can “position itself strategically on the global stage of sustainable tourism.”

“These modules cover key sustainability and hospitality-specific topics that will assist staff, hoteliers and tourism professionals in understanding and implementing best operational practices to reduce environmental impact,” he said.