Hilton Worldwide on the SWAP experience: Teamwork makes all the difference

By Maxime Verstraete, Vice President of Sustainability and ADA Compliance on Feb 19, 2016

When Hilton Worldwide was approached to participate in the Department of Energy’s first-ever Better Buildings Challenge SWAP, we were excited, then the questions hit us. 

Our systems are so different, how will they know what to look for?

What will they say?

How will metrics stack up?

As you can imagine, creating DOE’s first-ever reality web series is about as complicated as, well, managing the energy of our largest hotel on the west coast.

What’s important to remember for both of these projects is that the human element is really what makes or breaks a team.

Here at Hilton Worldwide, we know that our employees are the heart of our company and our energy-saving achievements. We can implement all the high-tech innovations in the world, but without an engaged workforce, we wouldn’t be able to move the needle. We’re grateful for our global team of Hilton Worldwide housekeepers, chefs, servers, laundry, concierge and managers, who meet regularly with leaders to talk about energy efficiency, water conservation, energy management and customer comfort.

Similarly, working with the Whole Foods Market team and the Department of Energy created a unique and necessary team dynamic that increased the level of transparency and collaboration for our sustainability and operations leadership. With the added pressure of having “guests” in our boiler room, kitchens and laundry rooms, we were able to view energy-saving opportunities with new eyes.

Night Walks—Great for Energy Efficiency, and Sleep Deprivation

Just as our guests wind down for the night, our buildings do too, so there are numerous energy-saving opportunities to be uncovered at night. During SWAP’s second day, both teams took “night walks” through both facilities post-midnight, to see how our 24-7 facilities operate.  Although our buildings never truly go to sleep, it’s important to look at the energy “leakages” that happen at this time.

With bleary eyes and tired feet, the Whole Foods and Hilton team discovered things like unnecessary lighting, plugged-in appliances and equipment, all of which should go to sleep when our guests and customers do. The night walk was just one example of everybody’s commitment to this project, and for that I’m grateful to the Whole Foods and DOE team for making this project a success.

Be sure to follow all of our hijinks, and the finished SWAP episodes at http://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/swap. We hope that more Challenge partner collaborations between different sectors are on the horizon, and that the Better Buildings initiative continues to be a space for innovation and solution-sharing among energy efficiency professionals.