Name: Dan Gilligan
Title: Vice President of Utilities and Administrative Service
Company: Accor North America, Carrollton, Texas
Number of years with Accor: 16
Primary responsibilities: Gilligan oversees all utility/energy programs at Accor North America’s corporate offices and its more than 1,200 corporate owned and franchised properties.
Environmental goal I would most like Accor NA to reach in 2007: “I would like to see our properties accomplish as many of the 65 tasks listed in our Environmental Charter as possible.”
Biggest challenge I face each day as Vice President of Utilities and Administrative Service: “Trying to constantly make progress with our environmental initiatives.”
Advice for other hotel companies considering energy-saving programs: “The first step is to build consumption history so you can see how you use energy. Understand what your costs are and where they are coming from.”
CARROLLTON, TEXAS—Dan Gilligan, vice president of utilities and administrative service at Accor North America (NA), has an important advantage when compared with other hotel company utility executives. How so? When the time comes to roll out an environmental program, it is an easier task because the majority (about 900 or so) of Accor NA’s approximately 1,200 properties are company owned and managed.
As for the 300-plus franchised properties, Gilligan says, “We hope to influence what they do but ultimately the decision is theirs. We try to lead by example.”
Company owned or not, Accor NA’s Red Roof Inn, Motel 6, Studio 6, Novotel, Sofitel and Ibis properties are having significant success reducing environmental impact in the following areas: energy and water conservation, green cleaning, recycling and more.
“We try to control our utility costs in any reasonable way possible,” Gilligan says. “It is our second largest expense next to labor.”
To help control utility costs, company owned Accor NA properties follow guidelines described in the Accor Hotels Environment Charter. This document includes 65 areas where each hotel can make a difference. The ultimate goal is to accomplish all 65 tasks. These include such things as installing LED exit signs, compact fluorescents and water-saving showerheads.
One example of progress: All Red Roof Inn properties now use low-energy lamps in guestrooms. Only about 30 percent of Motel 6 properties have them but the goal is 100 percent participation.
Gilligan says the Environment Charter program will soon be rolled out to Accor NA’s franchisees.
“We know that many of them are interested in this,” he says.
Measurement and Monitoring Emphasized
Energy committees consisting of managers representing the different brands meet regularly to track energy conservation progress. Utility expenses are tracked and paid by Advantage IQ, a subsidiary of Avista Corp., Spokane, Wash.
“As they process and pay bills, they extract key consumption information,” Gilligan says. “We send them all of our occupancy numbers. They are able to supply us with data such as energy usage per occupied room.”
Gilligan says his company’s biggest challenge is getting a handle on heating and cooling costs. Buildings constructed 10 or 15 years ago were put together based on the energy costs of that time. Now, Accor NA is beginning to build for the future in anticipation of rising energy costs. That means hotel shells will include better windows and better insulation.
“We have to project what energy costs are going to be 10 to 13 years down the road,” Gilligan says. “Every chain needs to think that way.”
For its energy-saving efforts at its Red Roof Inn, Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties, Accor NA recently was named an Energy Star Leader by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star Leaders are recognized as part of the EPA’s Energy Star Building Challenge, a program encouraging building owners and managers to reduce energy use by 10 percent or more. As part of the Energy Star Building Challenge, Accor NA joined 20 others as Energy Star Leaders recognized for improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
Having joined Energy Star in 2000, Accor NA has developed initiatives that require sharing, implementing and monitoring energy management standards throughout each of its hotel brands. Accor NA also uses the Energy Star rating system to maintain its low energy consumption, as well as to identify exemplary hotel properties.
To learn more, go to Accor North America.
Dan Gilligan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.