Radisson Blu: Carbon accounting across a complex organisation

The challenge for hotel chain Radisson Blu is to implement the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme across a complex corporate structure.

The brand is one of several owned by Brussels-based Rezidor and includes 13 hotels in the UK. Radisson also owns the Park Inn chain.

Only a few of the hotels are directly owned and operated. The rest are either franchises or are managed by Radisson Blu, which generally means they are run by Radisson Blu in hotel buildings owned by a different company. This means Radisson Blu’s CRC obligations are both direct and indirect.

Under the CRC’s franchise rules, it is the brand owner who must comply on behalf of franchisees. Radisson Blu is also fully responsible for the CRC where it is the tenant paying the energy bills. But it says in cases where it acts solely in a managerial capacity there is only an obligation to report data to the owners.

The Rezidor group has a ‘responsible business’ sustainability programme, which covers carbon dioxide emissions, and provides advice, training and software for hotel owners, managers and staff. But because hotels are run locally and differ substantially in age and characteristics, budgets and targets for energy efficiency improvements are assigned by individual owners.

Tim Cordon, general manager for the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in London, acts as the regional coordinator of the programme.

He says Rezidor has engaged energy consultants RDL to put in place an emissions reporting framework. It has already assessed its emissions and responsibility for the CRC. RDL already manages the group’s energy purchasing and tariff selection, contract timing and negotiation, coordination across the chain, and manages smart metering with remote downloading of data.

"A lot of hotels already have smart metering in place to monitor their business," says Mr Corden. The chain is planning to expand this, particularly for less well covered gas supplies, so it can download and analyse data, audit energy billing and highlight efficiency savings. Energy use in kitchens and plant areas are priorities, he says.

Radisson Blu has also encouraged the uptake of other efficiency measures. These include the prioritisation of LED lights, installing burner management systems to boilers to cut their gas consumption by up to 20%, and adding ‘e-cubes’ to refrigerator sensors to make sure cooling only kicks in when needed.

Measures like these have cut emissions at the Portman Hotel by 10% between 2008 and 2009, says Mr Cordon.

In directly owned properties Radisson Blu is also looking at bigger projects. Its recently built hotel at Stansted, for example, has a combined heat and power unit.

Mr Cordon notes that the gap between the CRC’s emissions sale and recycling payments could also provide cash-flow problems for some of the chain’s smaller hotels.

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