Hilton Chips Away at 2014 Goals, Uses LightStay to Monitor Progress

10/5/2012 By Glenn Hasek

As reported on Green Lodging News late last month, Hilton World announced the 2011 results of its LightStay sustainability measurement system. LightStay was officially launched in 2009. All Hilton hotels—now more than 3,900—are participating in LightStay, reporting data back to Hilton headquarters regarding waste generation, and energy and water consumption. Since the introduction of LightStay, the company has reduced its carbon output by 10.9 percent, waste output by 23.3 percent, energy use by 9.7 percent, and water use by 7.5 percent.

Using 2008 as the baseline year, Hilton’s goal is to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and waste output by 20 percent, as well as reduce water consumption by 10 percent—all by 2014. You will notice that Hilton surpassed its waste reduction goal two years early.

I spoke with Randy Gaines, Hilton’s vice president Engineering, Housekeeping, Laundry Operations Americas this past week about the progress of LightStay.

How has Hilton reduced so much waste so quickly? Gaines told me it has been through education and communication, stepping up recycling efforts and taking a hard look at what waste comes in and what waste goes out. Recycling participation has increased three-fold since the beginning of LightStay. Simple steps such as not automatically delivering USA Today to every room and eliminating bottled water where possible have helped. Better procurement practices and donation programs have also contributed to waste reduction. “We are policing it at the corporate level,” Gaines says, adding that he believes Hilton can reach a total waste reduction percentage of 30 to 35 percent by 2014.

Focus on Large Energy Consumers

The almost 10 percent reduction in energy consumption so far has been due to concentrating on those hotels where there is high energy usage in high energy cost markets. Chiller plant retrofits, lighting retrofits, and ozone laundry systems have all helped reduce energy consumption but Gaines says that it has been basic steps—setting back the thermostat, towel and linen reuse programs, proper maintenance—that have really made a difference.

Gaines says Hilton is taking a greater interest in renewable energy technologies. He referenced the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort where six wind turbines are planned and highlighted the recent announcement of Hilton receiving the 2012 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hilton is currently purchasing 315 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 94 percent of the organization’s purchased electricity use.

Keeping water consumption down while occupancy has been going up has been a challenge for Hilton but Gaines says the company has been making good progress. “We’ve done the low-flow fixtures and looked at our large laundries,” he says. “We’ve done a tremendous amount of ozone. We have also done a better job of maintaining irrigation systems.” Gaines cited the Hilton Waikoloa Village as a property that is currently seeing a $1 million irrigation system upgrade.

I asked Gaines how LightStay has evolved over the past couple of years. “It has become more of an interactive tool,” he says. “We have modified the dashboard to make it more user-friendly.” He explained that LightStay now has a “social network” feature that allows properties from around the world to “neighbor” one another and share information, dialogue on a topic or compare respective performance.

To learn more about LightStay and Hilton’s environmental programs, click here. Also be sure to search on “LightStay” on the Green Lodging News website.

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