Green Policies Puts a Feather in Hotel's Cap
May 26, 2011
A money saving exercise has turned in to a mission statement for the Feathers Group of hotels in the North West of England as they strive to create an environmentally sustainable business.
The company, which has eight hotels – the Willow Bank Hotel in Manchester, the Premier Leyland Hotel in Preston the Alicia Hotel and the Feathers Hotel in Liverpool, the Fir Grove Hotel in Warrington and the Premier Queen Hotel, and the Westminster Hotel and Llyndir Hall Hotel and Spa all in Chester, became converted to the green cause 6 years ago.
Now with six of the groups hotels holding the much coveted Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme and two of them holding Silver, the group has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds by going green and introducing a series of environmentally practices.
In 2005 the hotel chain’s electricity costs were £500,000 and with a total of 724 bedrooms in the chain to heat and light, the gas and electricity costs kept increasing year on year prompting the management to find ways to reduce costs.
Basic housekeeping measures such as replacing 60 watt light bulbs with 9 watt, putting lights on timers, turning lights off in empty rooms and lagging pipes, they managed to reduce their gas and electricity bills by 24 per cent by the end of 2006 and in 2007 another 13 per cent was saved.
The savings were enough to spark a revolution in the way the group thought about the use of energy and over the following two years, the group continued to implement green changes – some big and some small but all making a significant difference to the company’s bottom line. Suppliers were reviewed and encouraged to be green; produce was bought locally lowering the carbon footprint; packaging was reduced to next to nothing as food was brought in on reusable plastic trays.
Investments were made where needed – old gas boilers replaced with new, more efficient ones; oil-fuelled boilers replaced with LPG; shower heads replaced with water displacement ones; old toilets were made more efficient with the use of water-saving devices (supplied free from the water companies) and a local paper mill was contacted to collect and recycle their waste paper.
“Being green started out about profitability but now it has become so much bigger. From the young trainee who starts on day one to the board director who has been around for a few years, being green is part of what we represent as a company.” says Stuart Hunter, Managing Director of the Feathers Group.
In February 2010, inspired by these statistics and by the money saved, Philippa Craig, the Feather’s Group Financial Controller, set a target for the whole group to gain eight Gold Awards from the Green Tourism Business Scheme by the end of 2010. She invited representatives from all the hotels to a Green Day. Those that attended were the ones that would make the difference and included the chefs, maintenance and housekeepers. Their target was to reduce all energy, water and refuse by a further 15 per cent. If the 15 per cent was achieved by the end of the year then 144 trees would be planted to form a Feather’s Forest.
Their intention was that the business would benefit by further reducing their costs, the environment would benefit by cutting on their carbon emissions plus they would put something back in to the community by planting 144 trees to be planted this June.
“What the Feathers Hotel Group has done to achieve their Awards is outstanding. They have shown great determination and huge imagination in their quest to be green. What was initially a cost-cutting venture, has turned in to a united drive to put the environment at the top of their agenda. We at the GTBS are very impressed by their dedication to achieve Gold Awards for all eight hotels.” said Andrea Nicholas of the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
Green Tourism Business Scheme are highlighting the financial benefits of going green during Green Tourism Week 6-12 June 2011 with green events organised across the country. See http://www.greentourismweek.co.uk/ for more information.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme is the only certification program in the UK endorsed by VisitEngland, VisitScotland and VisitWales and has been validated by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism since 2008. Operated by a not-for-profit organisation, Green Business, there are over 2,300 GTBS members throughout the UK and Ireland.