Cornell develops carbon footprint measurement tool for hotels

The hotel industry will be able to compare energy and water use, as well as carbon footprint, using a new tool from the Cornell University Center for Hospitality Research (CHR).

Developed by researchers Howard Chong and Eric Ricaurte, the Hotel Sustainability Tool 2015 is available from the CHR at no charge.

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Chong and Ricaurte developed the benchmark ranges using aggregate input for 4,725 hotel properties from eleven international hotel organizations: Hilton Worldwide, Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Host Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott International, Park Hotel Group, PGA Golf Resort, Saunders Hotel Group, and Wyndham Worldwide.

For purposes of this tool, the hotels were grouped into the chain scale segments established by STR Global, and the tool also includes an overall measure for hotels in a particular geographic area regardless of chain scale.

The tool is an Excel worksheet that provides 12 full data tables on separate tabs. To see the benchmarks for a particular geography and chain scale, the hotel operator would select the appropriate location from the list of available geographies (those that have a sufficient number of hotels recorded), and then choose a segment from another dropdown list. With those selections made, the tool returns the statistical range of the location and segment’s data.

The benchmarks are for calendar year 2013, the most recent year with complete available data, and use the metrics of carbon footprint per room, per occupied room, and per area unit (either square foot or square meter); hotel energy use per occupied room or per area unit; and water use per occupied room or per area unit. A benchmark for HCMI carbon footprint for rooms and meeting space is also included.

Chong and Ricaurte are already seeking participation in the 2016 update, which will refine the benchmarks using 2014 data and provide additional benefits for participants. Hotel firms that are willing to participate in the update should contact Ricaurte at [email protected]

Earlier this year InterContinental Hotels Group began rolling out its online environmental sustainability tool, which helps hotels manage energy, carbon, water and waste, across the company’s 4,700 global properties.

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