by James McAllister
Understanding your hotel's gas and electricity bills
Running a hotel brings unique challenges when it comes to energy. Unlike other commercial businesses with defined opening hours, hotels run 24 hours a day, which can have a significant impact your gas and electricity bills.
While it is in your best interests to minimise your usage in order to keep overheads down, you’ll naturally be placing a strong emphasis on the satisfaction of your guests, who expect to have a comfortable stay when they choose your hotel.
As such, it is important to consider your energy options carefully to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your specific circumstances, without having to worry about how much gas or electricity your guests are using.
Switching energy suppliers
An effective way of saving money on your energy bills is by switching business energy suppliers. The best way to do this is by comparing deals across a wide range of suppliers and contracts, so that you can choose the best available deal for your particular circumstances.
Before looking around for deals, make sure you know your energy usage. Take regular meter readings, and take a note of the price you’re paying for each unit of gas or electricity you consume. You’ll need your most recent meter readings and current rates to get an accurate quote from your potential suppliers. Understanding your energy usage can also help you figure out energy efficiency measures to further save money.
Contracts with business energy providers often do not contain a ‘cooling off period’. This means you will not be able to cancel the deal once you have signed up to it. As such, it is important to fully understand the terms and conditions of your new contract before agreeing to sign.
Hotel energy saving tips
In most cases you’ll find that the biggest saving on your energy bill will come from selecting the best deal for your business’s needs. Nonetheless, there are smaller changes you can implement to further drive down your energy costs. Training your staff on energy efficiency is a useful first step when considering energy saving options for your hotel. Further options include:
- Installing timed thermostats and radiator valves in your hotel rooms can help ensure the thermostat is only on when needed. You might also consider turning off thermostats in vacant rooms.
- Make sure thermostats are not affected by draughts, sunlight, radiators and fireplaces.
- You can also reduce costs by keeping temperature levels in rooms and corridors constant, at around 19-21°C.
- You might consider underfloor heating which can be more efficient than radiators.
- Regularly servicing your boiler and promptly replacing older boilers can significantly lower your energy costs.
- It may also be worthwhile setting a lower temperature at back-of-house areas that aren’t occupied by guests.
- If you have air conditioning in your hotel, you will not need to turn it on unless temperatures exceed 23-24°C.
- Both heating and cooling are affected when doors are left open. To prevent this, you might benefit from installing swing doors in hallways and common areas.
- Insulating hot water pipes can help reduce the amount of heat lost through pipes.
- It is important to fix any leaks promptly, as leaking and burst pipes waste energy.
- Keeping hot water no higher than 60°C provides comfortable hot water while saving energy.
- You might also consider installing spray tap nozzles in your hotel, which dispenses the water as a fine spray, reducing hot water usage.
- Making the switch to energy efficient light bulbs can drastically reduce your electricity bill. CFLs and LEDs are popular choices that can be up to 80% more efficient than traditional light bulbs.
- Using occupancy sensors can help reduce electricity usage by automatically turning lights off when rooms are empty. These can be useful for areas of your hotel that are only used periodically, such as cellars, function rooms and even hallways.
- Similarly, daylight sensors can turn off lights depending on the level of sunlight in the room.
- Maintaining and defrosting fridges and freezers regularly can keep your appliances running smoothly and may prevent unexpected breakdowns. This includes making sure door seals are in good condition, and promptly closing doors after use.
- If you run a kitchen within your hotel, you might also benefit from switching to induction cooking, which uses electromagnetic induction and can be more efficient than traditional cookers. Using dishwashers only when full, and air drying your kitchenware and dining sets can also reduce energy consumption.
Laundry room appliances:
- Keeping temperatures down when washing and drying can help reduce energy costs.
Hotel room appliances:
- It may be worth investing in energy efficient appliances for all the rooms in your hotel. This can include items such as TVs, radios, hair dryers, kettles and mini-fridges.
Building Management System (BMS):
- You may benefit from installing a building management system or building automation system which can control your hotel’s energy usage from a main computer. This gives you control over your hotel’s mechanical and electrical equipment, including its ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems and security systems.
Understanding the energy bill for your hotel
In order to determine whether you are paying the right amount for your hotel’s energy usage, it is important to fully understand your energy bill. Typically, an energy bill includes information about your contract, the prices you are being charged, and the cost of other factors that contribute to your bill. The following information is common on most energy bills:
- Standing charge: you will need to pay a set standing charge regardless of how much energy you use. Typically standing charges for smaller businesses start from 35p per day for gas and 30p per day for electricity. Some suppliers also offer energy with no standing charge.
- Unit rate: this is directly related to the amount of energy you consume and is the cost you are charged for each unit of energy you use – measured in kilowatt hours. Typical unit rates start from 4p per kWh for gas and 11p per kWh for electricity. Find out more about the typical business gas and electricity prices per kwh.
- Contract end date: it is important to make note of your contract end date, as this is when your current deal expires. You’ll need to arrange a new deal to come into force when your existing one expires, to prevent being placed on your supplier’s more expensive standard rates.
- Notice period end date: if you do intend to cancel your contract and switch to a new deal, this is the date by which you must notify your supplier.
- Climate Change Levy (CCL) charge: this government-imposed charge was introduced to encourage commercial businesses to reduce their carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency.
- VAT charge: VAT stands for Value-Added Tax, and is typically payable at 20% for all goods and services.