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Green Business Plan Statistics for an Environmentally Friendly Hotel

October 22, 2006

by Kit Cassingham

A business plan for your bed and breakfast that you plan to run as an environmentally friendly hotel needs statistics about the water conservation and energy conservation you will accomplish through your design and purchases. How much do you save by conserving? More than you might think.

I have stood on my soap box for years talking about the wisdom of running a green B&B. I've been asked several times to review how much money is saved by conserving water and energy, only two of the resources I urge innkeepers to conserve. Here is a list of statistics about the actual resource savings for you to apply your water and energy rates to for coming up with how much you will save by implementing an environmentally friendly operations program.

New Old
toilet 1.6 gal/flush 5 gal/flush
shower 2-3 gal/min 5-8 gal/min
sink 2-3 gal/min 3-7 gal/min
dishwasher 4-10 gal/load 9-12 gal/load by hand: 20 gal
Top loader Front loader
washing machine 50 gal/load 20-25 gal/load

  • A typical hotel uses 218 gallons of water per day per occupied room. Compare that to the U.S. average per capita consumption of 70 gallons per day.
  • Water efficient fixtures can reduce water consumption by 25-30%
  • commercial front loaders: use proportionately less water than a front loader
  • Gas facts include:

    • using a cold water wash saves the 20-40 gallons (newer washers) of water you used from being heated
    • using a front loading washer with a warm wash saves money over a top loader
    • gas water heaters are more energy efficient than electric water heaters
    • gas is a more efficient heating fuel, be it air or water, than electricity

    Laundry costs, when it comes to electricity, look like this:

      Wash/Rinse kWh/yr Cost Assumptions
      Hot/Cold 1517     $155     39 gal/load
      Warm/Cold 825     $ 93     380 loads/yr
      Cold/Cold 103   $ 10   electric heat,   $0.10/kWh  

      And if the rinse cycle for the hot wash is hot, or the warm wash is warm, there would be even higher operating costs than illustrated here.
    • dryer -- uses an average 4.1 kWh/load (varies by machine size)
    • washing machine water temperature comparisons, from the Rocky Mountain Institute

    Now, lets compare the total cost of doing laundry, looking at a top and front loading washing machine cost, from RMI.

    • Assumptions:
      • Water costs $2,00 per 1,000 gallons
      • Electricity costs $.02 per kWh

    • Top Loader: Front Loader:
      * Electricity   2.33 kWh   * Electricity   0.65 kWh  
        $0.19/load     $0.05/load  
         Water   50 gal    Water   25 gal
        $0.10/load     $0.05/load  
      Load Cost:   $0.29 Load Cost:   $0.19  
      * Gas   0.06 therm   * Gas   0.60 therm  
        $0.09/load     $0.03/load  
      Water   50 gal Water   25 gal
        $0.10/load     $0.04/load  
      Load Cost:   $0.19   Load Cost:   $0.08  

    Let's look at an average bed and breakfast's laundry costs, using a front loading washer and electric dryer.

    Annual B&B Laundry Costs
    Assume $0.19/load. 50% occupancy, 365 days, for a B&B size of:
    laundry frequency Small (2 rooms) Average (8 rooms) Large (25 rooms)
    daily $69.35 $277.40 $866.88
    every other day $34.68 $138.70 $433.44
    every third day $23.12 $92.47 $288.96
    Savings of up to: $46.23 $184.93 $577.92

    Lighting is a huge energy consumer. Changing your lights from incandescent to compact fluorescent (CFL) will save you considerable money. Here are some facts to help show you the light.

    • Electricity use accounts for 60-70% of utility costs at a typical hotel
    • Guest lighting equals about 30-40% of hotels' energy consumption
    • The best lights to use CFL bulbs in are those that are on at least four hours a day
    • A CFL lasts up to seven years
    • Compare a 19W CFL to 75W incandescent:
      • less heat is generated because of the increased efficiency (saves on cooling bills)
      • CFL 75% more efficient than an incandescent
      • 8,000-20,000 hr CFL life vs 800-2,000 hour incandescent life (save labor in not replacing CFL as often)
      • same light output, but different costs over their respective lifetimes

      •   19W CFL   75W Incandescent
          Purchase Price   $4.00   $0.50
          Life of Bulb   14,000 hrs (8-20,000)   1,400 hrs (800-2,000)
          Life Cost   $26.60   $10.50
        Life's Energy Consumption   225 kWh   105 kWh
        extrapolate numbers to equal 14,000 hours for both bulbs: 1 CFL, 10 Incandescent
          Purchase Price   $4.00   $5.00
          Life of Bulb   14,000 hrs   14,000 hrs
          Life Cost   $26.60   $105.00
          Life's Energy Consumption   225 kWh   1,050 kWh

    • Now, if you want to consider labor costs in maintaining the use of incandescent bulbs, follow this line of thinking. If there are 10 incandescent light bulb changes required for every 1 CFL, you pay your employees $10/hour, and it takes a conservative estimate of 1 minutes to change a bulb, it will cost you $1.67 more/fixture to use incandescent bulbs. And chances are it will take longer than one minute to change a bulb. Then, there are the costs of disposal, storage,and purchasing of all those incandescent bulbs to factor into your analysis.

    Another money saving idea is buying Energy Star appliances -- water heaters, AC, furnace, refrigerator, freezer, washers, dryers, dishwashers, computers, etc. Energy Star appliances show their rating and energy savings, so you can select just how energy conserving you will be.

    It seems obvious to me, but based on the amount of dripping I find in lodging properties when I travel, it must not be so obvious to innkeepers. Maintenance goes a long way in saving resources, especially water. Stop drips and save water and thus energy (if the drip is from a hot water line).

    These are the inexpensive-to-implement solutions. If you want more to do, there are lots of steps you can take. The energy costs will vary across the U.S. and around the world, so apply your specific water and energy costs to the calculations you run. The one thing we can all count on, as much as death and taxes is water and energy costs will continue to rise.

    Start taking care of your cash flow now and begin converting your water and energy hogging devices to water and energy saving devices. The savings of the first change or two will help fund subsequent changes. If I wasn't clear before, make a difference to the environment, win your guests over for your environmental sensitivity, and take care of your bottom line. There is gold in green.

    Comments

    This is great! "Green” businesses are popping up left and right! I saw that The Social Venture Network is holding a contest to reward business leaders of socially responsible companies! Looks like anyone who uses you advice would qualify: www.svn.org/imaginewhatsnext.





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