Save power save the planet

The worldwide media is doing a sterling job of informing us, the public, about the consequences of climate change.

Unfortunately, most of us are like the proverbial ostrich, hiding our heads in the sand.

There is little or no effort made to reduce personal carbon footprints, especially when it costs money and there are no obvious benefits.
The hospitality industry should take the lead when it comes to reducing greenhouse gasses. The industry’s future, after all, is in tourism, which in South Africa is inseparably linked to the environment. Every establishment should be doing everything possible to reduce their carbon footprint.
There are three areas where every establishment can make a meaningful contribution to a sustainable environment.

  • Reduce water consumption.
  • Reduce energy consumption.
  • Reduce waste disposal.

Reduce water consumption:

The pumping and treatment of water for domestic consumption requires energy. The pumping and treatment of sewage requires energy. If every establishment could reduce the amount of water they require by 40%, the cumulative savings would amount to a significant reduction in energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
Reduce energy consumption:
If every establishment could reduce their energy consumption by 40%, the cumulative saving would be significant. The reality is, there is no one single step that can be taken to achieve savings of 40% or more.
Every establishment must carefully consider the energy required to operate their appliances. More importantly, they must consider alternatives to their current systems.
Saving energy must go beyond exchanging incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient light bulbs. It must extend to the hot water system, kettles, coffee percolators, washing machines and tumble driers. These systems and appliances consume more than 60% of the total energy used by the average establishment.

Reduce waste disposal:

It is the responsibility of every human being to reduce the amount of waste they produce.
In an establishment, there are two categories of waste: organic waste and packaging waste. In an ideal world, the organic waste will be returned to the soil and the packaging waste will be recycled.

Disposing of waste in landfills is one of the greatest contributors to global warming. Decomposing organic matter in landfills, produces, over long periods of time, large quantities of methane – one of the major greenhouse gases.
Decomposing packaging materials and chemicals disposed of in landfills, are leaching down and contaminating the underground water supplies. This can continue for hundreds of years.

By eliminating bottled water and using a point-of-use water purifier, an establishment will make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gases. If four less bottles a day are used, the establishment would effectively have removed one large sedan, travelling 20,000 km a year, from the roads.

So, how can an establishment make a meaningful contribution to reducing greenhouse gases, when there is no budget? By saving water: Asking guests to conserve water is as futile as asking a child not to play with water.
The only guaranteed way to get guests to co-operate is to install equipment that automatically limits water flow. It is important to select the right equipment to ensure that the guest’s comfort and experience is not compromised. Any equipment that restricts water flow and reduces hot water consumption will also save energy.
Saving water, not only reduces costs for the establishment, but also, indirectly makes a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gases. 

By saving energy:

The most obvious, easiest and least costly way to save energy is to exchange incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient light bulbs. Eskom has made this easy to do by subsidising energy-efficient light bulbs. A significant amount of energy can be saved when converting to solar geyser.

This unfortunately, requires a significant investment and the savings are not as significant as for a private home. To ensure the comfort and experience of the guests, a conventional geyser is still required. Installing the geyser close to the point-of-use, covering it with a geyser blanket and insulating the pipes, will all contribute to saving energy.

A more successful and cost-effective solution is to install water saving shower roses, and water saving basin aerators. The only challenge is to select a shower rose that saves water without compromising the guest’s comfort and experience.

Reducing the need to wash towels and tumble dry them daily can reduce energy consumption by as much as 400%. Here again, it is important to find a way to dry the towels without compromising the guest’s comfort and experience.

Boiling a full kettle of water to make one or two cups of tea and then allowing the balance to cool is an unnecessary waste of energy. Instant boiling water systems are known to reduce electricity consumption by as much as 40%. Their design, superior insulation and energy management systems ensure that every drop of water heated is used. The boiling water is instantly available and nothing goes to waste. 

By eliminating waste:

Separating food waste from packaging waste makes it easier to recycle. Grinding the food waste and disposing of it down the drain is far more convenient and hygienic than managing a composting process.

Washing the packaging material before placing it in a container for collection by a recycler, is simple and hygienic and goes a long way to reducing the establishment’s carbon footprint.

The major obstacle for most establishment owners is the financing of energy-efficient alternatives. If there were a way to overcome this obstacle, not many establishment’s owners would let it pass by. 

A revelation:

There is now a way to convert to energy efficient systems and appliances without it impacting on the establishment’s bottom line.