UK businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector could save at least £310m-a-year on their energy bills by adopting new energy technologies like solar panels and batteries, according to a report published by Centrica.
The report Distributed Energy: Powering the future of hospitality and leisure, found that if just 50% of businesses in the sector adopted new energy technology it would boost UK economic growth by £3.7bn GVA (Gross Value Added) and support 50,000 jobs.
The hospitality and leisure sector is the UK’s third largest employer and spends more than £1.3bn a year on energy. Businesses have been challenged to improve their energy productivity by 20% by 2030, as set out by the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy.
Alan Barlow, UK and Ireland Director at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “New energy technology has the potential to drive growth, increase efficiency and help give businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector a competitive advantage.
“Investing in this area doesn’t just make sense financially. Businesses are increasingly harnessing the sustainability benefits of low-carbon energy technology to attract and retain growing numbers of environmentally-savvy consumers.”
The research suggests that savings could be achieved by adopting distributed energy technology such as efficient heating and lighting, solar, Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and battery storage. New energy monitoring technology can also help to identify inefficient equipment and processes.
Carbon emissions savings for the hospitality and leisure sector
The report follows the publication of Centrica’s ‘Powering sustainability’ report in October, which found that the hospitality and leisure sector could reduce its annual carbon emissions by 14% through the adoption of new energy technology.
Centrica calculated that, if just half of hospitality and leisure businesses in the UK adopted distributed energy technology, the sector could reduce emissions by the equivalent of 1.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year (1.3 MtCO2e), or the equivalent of 23 million tonnes by 2030. This is equal to the annual carbon emissions associated with the energy use of 421,000 homes, or equivalent to the entire housing stock of Norfolk.
Case study: Alton Towers Resort
An example of a hospitality business realising the benefits of new energy technology is the 550-acre Alton Towers Resort. It is home to four hotels, a conference centre, more than a dozen restaurants and Europe’s largest waterpark. The hotels alone can accommodate 2,500 guests and 400 staff.
The facilities team must ensure power is supplied to all of these different buildings as well as provide heat for the 1,000m³ of water in the waterpark. Centrica Business Solutions installed a combined heat and power unit (CHP) at the resort capable of generating up to 850kWh of electricity. CHP is a form of on-site energy generation that uses the heat by-product of electricity generation so that it can be put to use – in this case, to maintain water temperature in the park. Meeting these two needs from one source results in an annual saving on energy costs for Alton Towers of 12% a year.