Implementation Model: Wyndham Vacation Ownership Green Certification Program
Lack of a formal process for improving energy efficiency and implementing sustainable practices in the timeshare industry
Development of timeshare-focused green certification program driven by strict adherence to quality assurance
The Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) Green Certification Program was adopted company-wide, with a minimum basic certification required for all Wyndham timeshare properties
The Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) Green Certification Program was initiated in 2009 as a pilot program and became mandatory for all properties in 2013. This first –to-industry green certification program aligns with Wyndham’s goals to reduce carbon emissions by 12% by 2017 and energy use by 20% by 2020. Currently, the certification includes 27 mandatory requirements in categories including: energy use, water use, waste reduction, indoor air quality, and education. Mandatory requirements are low or no-cost operational measures, or measures which have a payback of less than two years. Many of the “advanced” certification items are more capital intensive. In addition to basic certification, advanced certifications can be earned at the Silver, Gold and Crystal levels. The program is modified annually to be more rigorous in both scope and minimum requirement. In this way, each location must make continuous improvements to maintain even a basic certification.
Energy-related requirements for basic certification include:
- On-site Green Team for planning and leadership and to provide consistent awareness and staff reinforcement of green practices
- Energy efficient lighting in units and common areas
- Implementation of set-back program for unit thermostats and hot water heaters
- Motions sensors in storage areas
- Energy data tracking
- Lighting controls in select back-of-house areas
- Vending misers for refrigerated vending machines
- Seasonal setback planning during periods of low occupancy
Energy-related opportunities for advanced certification include:
- Energy management systems in place at the resort
- Use of alternative energy sources
- Use of alternative energy powered vehicles
- ENERGY STAR appliances or tankless water heaters in guest units
- Energy efficiency improvements
- Maintaining a 4-year replacement cycle for hot water heaters
- Participation in the Energy University energy education program (credits for team members completing online energy related courses)
- Completion of an energy audit during the latest 12 months
- Meeting a minimum goal of 3% efficiency improvement during the year (1 pt); 5 to 7% improvement (2 pts), and greater than 7% improvement (3 pts)
- Other energy-intensive projects or practices of exceptional merit
Quality assurance is at the heart of the certification program. Many external certification programs have limited, if any, on-site auditing. However, to earn certification under the WVO Green Certification Program, each resort is audited twice each year by a member of the internal Quality Assurance Team. The Quality Assurance Team is an independent arm of resort management that provides focus, rigor and objectivity. Since onsite quality assurance audits for operational effectiveness already included both the common areas and units, adding the greening element to their site audits was a natural fit. Quality Assurance staff audit the common areas for adherence to required basic items and then do a random check of at least six units on the property.
The certification is part of Wyndham Vacation Ownership’s overall quality assurance program in which all resorts must participate. Since the program is mandatory, all resorts are measured on their level of sustainability efforts. Performance expectations for resort managers include requirements to meet the basic greening standards at their respective resorts. Wyndham’s Green Certification program is communicated simultaneously to owners and guests, resort properties and members of the timeshare industry using the communications strategies listed below.
To WVO Owners and Guests
To WVO Resorts
To the Timeshare Industry
Tools & Resources
Sample Timeshare Certification Overview – Provides overview of basic certification requirements and corporate commitment
Greening Program Property Compliance Checklist – Sample compliance sheet to document property participation in greening program
Wyndham Green Marketing Overview – Sample Wyndham Vacation Ownership marketing presentation
Energy and water use, and other program metrics are tracked by participating facilities in the Wyndham Green Toolbox, an online internal tracking tool.
The certification level achieved by each resort is displayed on the company website to reinforce the importance of recognition. In addition to this internal online recognition, resorts receive a plaque in honor of the certification level they achieved during the year. The respective resort managers typically receive these prestigious plaques in front of their peers at the Wyndham Vacation Ownership annual resort management conference. These plaques are displayed in public areas for guests to see.
In 2012, 63% of WVO resorts (133 properties) earned the prestigious "Basic", "Silver", “Gold” or “Crystal” achievement levels. Wyndham also realized an 8% reduction in total energy consumption from a 2008 baseline, due in part to the energy efficiency measures implemented as part of the Wyndham Green Certification Program. These savings equate to $1.5 million in energy cost savings.
In the future, Wyndham strives to include additional certification benchmarks in the program to assist with their 20% greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2020. Selection of these criteria will be based on a review of successful best practices and a strategic impact assessment of adding each respective item to the process.
The company is thrilled to acknowledge the incremental improvements of participating properties in the certification program. In 2012, 23 properties attained Crystal status from other award levels. Over half of these properties (14) originated at the Gold level, while five rose from the Basic level and three uncertified properties earned Crystal level.