Charging and storage systems the next sustainability step

Sustainability is still a motivating factor for hotel guests, as are the savings associated with going green. Hilton Worldwide is taking another step toward capturing the green-focused traveler with a new plan to install EV charging stations at 50 of its U.S. hotels by the end of this year, and 100 hotels by the end of 2016.

The Washington Business Journal reported that the charging program will eventually be expanded internationally, with Hilton aiming to launch it abroad in 2016. Hilton partnered with General Electric's Current EV recharging station business for the plan, with hotel owners getting the equipment free of charge, only paying for the cost of installation and energy use.

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InsideEV's Monthly Scorecard showed electric vehicle sales in the U.S. reached 350,000 since 2010, with roughly 120,000 being sold in 2014 alone, according to the Washington Business Journal. Though Hilton has over 4,400 properties the world over, installing charging stations in 100 is a good way to gauge interest in the equipment and create a base for ramping up expansion in years to come.

Hilton is only the latest company to jump to provide sustainable energy solutions to guests. In August, Extended Stay America launched energy storage systems and real-time energy intelligence software across 68 of its properties in California. GreenBiz reported that energy storage systems can help reduce demand charges that typically account for anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of a commercial energy bill.

“The idea that energy storage can be used to mitigate demand charges is fairly new,” Gabe Schwartz, marketing manager for Stem, the company taht partnered with Extended Stay America to install energy storage systems, told GreenBiz. “Batteries have to be effective and the system has to know the building’s energy profile. It needs to know when to release stored energy.”

Understanding the relationship between sustainability and hotel bookings, as well as the effectiveness of sustainability practices, remains top-of-mind for the industry. Eco-Business reported the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research, Greenview, opened up its Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking 2016 initiative last month to study sustainability performance benchmarking in energy, water and carbon emissions. 

The initiative calls on hotel owners and operators to participate, and participants receive a confidential performance report a data validity test and a carbon footprint generated through a unified calculation method.