IHG Hotels & Resorts: Holiday Inn Diamond Bar Water Conservation Pilot
Changing climate conditions are exacerbating the effects of water stress in regions throughout the world. As a company with a global reach, IHG is taking the initiative to address water usage across its hotels, aligning with its commitment to creating shared value for the business, the environment, and the local communities in which IHG hotels operate.More
In the United States, IHG has focused water conservation efforts in the southwestern region, particularly in southern California, due to the severe drought. IHG has shown leadership by encouraging conservation measures at all of their California facilities, and by distributing water-saving toolkits to each hotel. Typically, over 40% of the water used in a hotel is from showers, toilets, taps, and kitchens, but installing low-flow fixtures such as faucets, toilets, and showerheads reduces water consumption. Low-cost improvements, such as installing low-flow aerators on all faucet heads, have been embraced at 90% of these locations. IHG made the decision to go beyond these basic measures and began a pilot project to explore additional options.
One of the pilot locations considered and subsequently selected was the Holiday Inn Diamond Bar, a 176-room hotel located in the city of Diamond Bar, approximately 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Its amenities include a 24-hour business center, outdoor pool, 3,000 square feet of meeting space, an on-site fitness center, and same-day laundry/dry cleaning services.Less
First, all IHG hotels are required to use the IHG Green Engage system, IHG’s innovative online sustainability platform. IHG Green Engage not only allows hotels to track, measure, and report on their utility consumption, it also recommends more than 200 Green Solutions which help hotels achieve energy, water, and waste savings. Specifically related to water, the IHG Green Engage system also provides the hotels with a comprehensive guide to water-saving technologies and processes.More
Second, in 2015, IHG formed a partnership with the Water Footprint Network (WFN), one of the world’s leading centers of excellence for water stewardship, to help develop a worldwide water stewardship program. Building on strong progress made against the 2013-2017 target of reducing water consumption by 12% per occupied room in water-stressed areas, IHG is furthering its work with WFN to develop a greater understanding of IHG hotels’ water usage at a local level by supporting water efficiency pilots at select locations. As part of that effort, IHG is working closely with both WFN and IHG hotels, particularly those in extreme water-stressed areas, to apply best practice techniques and behaviors to help reduce their water footprint.
The Holiday Inn Diamond Bar hotel was selected for the deeper-dive water conservation pilot because of the hotel’s location in a drought-affected area and the willingness of the hotel staff and employees to participate in the program. Before the pilot project, the hotel was part of the IHG Green Engage system, which provided recommended water-based Green Solutions that the hotel could implement. Additionally, the hotel was able to take advantage of the aerators provided in IHG’s water conservation toolkit and new towel and linen reuse cards provided by IHG to help California hotels comply with new state water regulations.
Additionally, there were a number of advantageous partnerships that provided the hotel more value in the work. The local water utility, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, provided rebates of $100 through the SoCal Water$mart program for each low-flow toilet, which reduced the length of time for the return on investment for the project. The hotel was also able to leverage IHG’s relationship with a vendor to get discounted pricing the products due to the fact the products were going to be used in implementation at multiple pilot properties. Lastly, there was a unique and beneficial opportunity to leverage the California Conservation Corps to support project implementation. The California Conservation Corps is a state agency that hires individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 for a year of working to protect, restore, and improve California’s natural resources and environment, including responding to natural disasters such as the drought.
Together with these partnerships, IHG and the Holiday Inn Diamond Bar kicked off the water conservation efforts. The most significant driver to water savings was the hotel-wide retrofit with new water saving toilets rated at 1.28 gpf, which meets the EPA WaterSense standard. The California Conservation Corps completed the retrofits in February 2015. All of the old toilets were recycled by a local recycling company.
The majority of the product costs were covered by local rebates (which were factored into the vendor’s quote) while labor costs were covered by the partnership with the California Conservation Corps. Total cost was approximately $5,000. The water conservation measures lowered the Holiday Inn Diamond Bar’s annual water consumption by 12%, resulting in a reduction of over 1.3 million gallons annually. Over the same time period, water rates significantly increased, but due to the reduction in water consumption, overall spend still decreased 2%.Less
In addition to the cost savings, the hotel receives positive feedback from guests on the hotel’s proactive water saving efforts. “Local accounts and travelers are excited we are doing something proactive about this … it lets the community know that we are engaged and creates a great image for our hotel,” said Michael Tsai, General Manager of the Holiday Inn Diamond Bar.More