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Hyatt Regency demonstrates the value of benchmarking water in commercial properties
In an effort to protect Australia’s water resources as well as lower costs, the Hyatt Regency took the initiative and established several key water conservation measures. Initially, the Hyatt Regency retrofitted AAA rated, 9 L per minute shower roses into its guestrooms to overcome a design problem that resulted in shower overflow and ongoing maintenance problems. This short-term problem provided the groundwork for a whole new approach to water management at the resort. Since then the Hyatt has reduced water use from 140,000,000 L in 1996 to 54,583,000 in 2000. In addition, the program has projected annual savings of nearly $85,372. This case study provides information on the steps the Hyatt took to conserve water.
The resort is a 247-room five-star hotel, catering mainly to conference and leisure guests. It has four kitchens, swimming pool, spa and beach pool and two golf courses. Managed by Hyatt International, it was constructed in 1988.
In 1996 the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove’s shower retrofitting project was included in the WaterWise Manual of Best Practices: Water conservation in large hotels and resorts the Hyatt had.
Stage 1 - Shower rose retrofit.
As part of the research into water shower roses, the project’s chief engineer, developed the following theoretical calculation to analyze the water and cost savings available to the resort via water conserving showers:
Basic water and trade waste charges combined at $1.28/kL, this example equals a financial saving of $12,340 per year (not including energy savings).
To purchase and install the shower roses for each guest room, the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove calculated a less than one-year payback on investment.
Stage 2 - Benchmarking and monitoring. During the research and writing of the Manual of Best Practices, the Gold Coast City Council (Gold Coast Water), identified the lack of water monitoring equipment and practices in many large hotels and resorts on the Gold Coast.
While many hotels and resorts were interested in the potential financial benefits of water conservation, few if any had the means to:
In 1997, Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove therefore began work with the Gold Coast City Council (Gold Coast Water) in the WaterWise arena, by participating in a project designed specifically to benchmark and monitor water use in its kitchen servicing The Cove Cafe.
Between October 1997 and February 1998, the chief engineer benchmarked water use in The Cove kitchen. During this time, WaterWise training was conducted with staff supervisors, a new water and energy efficient dishwasher was installed and calculations were made on the installation of flow controls into all kitchen (and resort) taps.
The results from Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove restaurant sub-metering project established water conservation as a key area of improvement.
WaterWise training had little affect. The stand-alone two hour training seminar was conducted with approximately 15 staff supervisors. In the following days and weeks, no change was recorded in the kitchen’s water use.
The new water and energy saving dishwasher installed in the kitchen delivered savings. With the total cost of purchase and installation of the new dishwasher at approximately $40,000 the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove estimated it will recover its investment in less than two years.
Given the successful results and payback period of the kitchen’s monitoring process, the Hotel installed a second similar dishwasher in October 2000 in the Banqueting Kitchen.
A key challenge for the Hyatt Regency was to ensure guest comfort was not compromised in any way. Since the installation of the 9 L per minute shower roses at Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove, the resort has not received a single guest complaint about shower quality. Indeed, in 1997 the resort won the Deluxe Accommodation category of the Queensland Tourism Awards, proving that water conservation and superior service and facilities in the hospitality industry, work hand-in-hand.
The ongoing success of water conservation initiatives at the Hyatt Regency can in part be attributed to the impact the initial the pilot project in educating the chief engineer about the opportunities for improving the efficiency of the hotel.
The Hyatt Regency’s Cove actions have clearly demonstrated the value of benchmarking water use in commercial properties. The data collected highlighted the most effective water conserving strategies and confirmed the benefit of their implementation.
The effort required from engineering staff to undertake the project was minimal, yet the identification of projected annual savings of $85,372 and annual true savings exceeded those predicted. This was seen as extremely beneficial for the reputation of the engineering department and for the resort’s bottom line. Its sub metering process to monitor water and other savings has proved the financial benefits of such investments in water efficient equipment to the hospitality industry. The Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove is one of the first large hotels/resorts on the Gold Coast to invest in the water and energy efficient dishwashers.
Experience in the hospitality sector is showing that conserving water will not only save money, it will also provide an important marketing edge in a very competitive industry. Australia has carefully nurtured its image as being a clean, green tourist destination for locals and overseas visitors. Protecting the country’s valuable water resources is an important part of maintaining that competitive advantage.
In 1993, the Australian Institute of Hotel Engineers (AIHE) estimated that a typical 300 room hotel uses 225,000 L each day or 750 L per room. This means a typical 300 room hotel is using around 1.3 Olympic swimming pools full of water each day or 483 Olympic pools each year. A commercial sink uses about 40 L to fill, while a water efficient dishwasher may use as little as 15 L (Best Practice Ecotourism, A guide to Energy and Waste Minimisation, 1995).