Name: Ariel Fan
Title: Energy Operations Manager
Company: Brighton Management
Years with company: Two years
Primary responsibilities: “My primary responsibility is to make the hotels as lean and energy efficient as possible. Profitability and sustainability go hand in hand with energy efficiency.”
Company’s most significant sustainability-related accomplishment: “Receiving the Energy Efficiency Partnership award from Southern California Edison.”
Company’s most significant sustainability-related challenge moving forward: “Convincing ownership of the profitability of sustainability.”
IRVINE, CALIF.—When she was 13 years old, Ariel Fan led a Greenpeace campaign against a major paper manufacturer for its cutting of rainforests. Today, her focus is building efficiency and making sure the hotels managed by Brighton Management operate as sustainably as possible.
Fan comes from a family that has owned and operated hotels since the 1970s. Her uncle, Joseph Fan, is the President of Brighton Management. Brighton currently manages 50 hotels—mostly in California but also in New Mexico, Colorado and Florida. Brighton manages the Hilton Concord, a property in California that has been featured in Green Lodging News multiple times for its investments in green technologies. It also manages the Holiday Inn Diamond Bar, the California hotel that was the first in North America to participate in the InterContinental Hotels Group’s Green Engage program.
Fan spends a good portion of her time—about 70 percent—visiting the hotels Brighton manages. Last month Fan led the rollout of her company’s Brighton Saves Green initiative. As part of that initiative, the managed hotels are required to become a TripAdvisor GreenLeader, convert to LED lighting, recycle bottles and glass, and have a green team. Brighton also started a Brighton Saves Green challenge that follows the Biggest Loser model. It focuses on reducing energy and water consumption and creates a competitive environment among the managed hotels.
Fan says that as Energy Operations Manager each day is different at Brighton. “Brighton has benefited very much from having a sustainability person like myself on board,” she says. “We have accumulated from $2 million to $3 million in benefits.”
Brighton Takes Advantage of Funding Opportunities
So far, more than 16 hotels have converted to LED lighting, taking advantage of $1.6 million in grants from Southern California Edison. The utility covered 90 percent of the total costs. Some properties have taken advantage of grants and rebates to help cover the costs of electric vehicle charging stations, PTACs, thermostats, and energy management systems. Fan says Brighton tries to time installations with rebates. “We work with a lot of local utilities,” she says.
While energy efficiency is top of mind for Brighton, so too is reducing water consumption. More than 70 percent of hotel toilets are low-flow. “Many of our hotels also recycle,” Fan says, adding that the money collected from recycling goes to charity work or hotel employees.
Brighton currently supports causes such as Give Kids the World, the Special Olympics, as well as the McKinley Children’s Center. Fan says Brighton is currently refocusing its philanthropic efforts in order to support a cause having to do with forest preservation.
When asked how she thinks the lodging industry is doing when it comes to sustainability, Fan said, “We have a long way to go. It is becoming more of a conversation in theory rather than in practice. We need to build a track record for efficiency.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.