The EU Switch-Asia Greening Sri Lanka Hotels Project has produced Sri Lanka’s first-ever benchmark study for energy and water consumption in the Sri Lankan hotel industry at the conclusion of the four-year long project.
The project commenced in November 2009 and has now completed four years of active involvement with the tourist hotels and has over 350 hotels registered with it. The project team has undertaken awareness seminars on sustainable consumption practices, training workshops on resource management for hotel technical staff, audits for water, waste and energy, and detailed energy audits and cleaner production audits at the request of the participating hotels.
Working with a sample set of 90 hotels which were submitting comprehensive data on energy and water, the project endeavoured a study to establish benchmarks for the industry.
Project Director Srilal Miththapala said that he was very proud and happy that his team had worked very hard to work on the data that they had obtained, and done a lot of analytical work to arrive at these benchmarks.
Working with a sample set of 90 hotels which were submitting comprehensive data on energy and water, the project endeavoured to undertake a study to establish benchmarks for the industry, based on the monthly consumption figures for 2012.
Monthly consumption of all energy sources (electric, gas, diesel, etc.) and water was collected for the year of 2012 from the sample set of 90 hotels. In the case of energy consumption, all data was converted into a common unit of kWh equivalent.
The energy and water consumption per room night (called the specific consumption) is the basis for comparison of consumption among hotels. However, the specific consumption depends on the occupancy level (%) of the hotel, as some of the energy or water such as corridor lights, staff water and energy usage has to be available even at low occupancy.
Thus, it was decided to calculate the benchmarks using the 2012 national industry average occupancy of 77%, as reported by the SLTDA. The monthly consumption of energy and water per occupied room night were calculated for each hotel, and plotted against the percentage occupancy. From these curves, the specific consumption for 77% occupancy was derived for each hotel, to be used in the benchmarking exercise.
These specific consumption figures were statistically analysed by fitting the data into a log normal curve, from which the benchmarks were established. The benchmark values were set as the unit consumption of the lowest 16% sample set or one standard deviation (σ) less than the mean value of the unit consumption.
Even though some authors use the quartile basis (25%) for estimation of benchmarks, after discussions with experts, it was decided that the one standard deviation method would be a preferable measure, given the sample set rather than estimate on a quartile basis (25%).
Classification of hotels
It is obvious that the benchmarks should be established for different types of hotels, for it to be of benefit to the hoteliers.
Several different ways of classifying the sample set of 90 hotels were considered, and it was felt that the most useful benchmark was based on the SLTDA classifications scheme for tourist accommodation. Hotels engaged with the project but not registered with the SLTDA were classified as ‘not registered’. Almost all these were SMEs.
Based on the 2012 Industry Average Occupancy of 77% the resulting benchmarks are shown in the tables and charts on this page.
These benchmarks can be used by the hotels in the respective categories whose energy and water consumption is higher, as a target to reach by adopting sustainable consumption practices.
Both energy and water consumption benchmarks for 5-star and boutique hotels are higher than for other categories of hotel as expected.
On the other hand both 4- and 3-star hotels show similar benchmarks. This is to be expected since service and facilities in these two categories of hotels are fairly similar.
The benchmarks for both water and energy consumption show an increasing trend with increasing level of service.
Given the very weak record keeping discipline among the hoteliers in Sri Lanka, this study is by no means exhaustive; but it is the first-ever time in the Sri Lankan hotel industry that such an analysis has been done. Hence the figures at this juncture should be taken as only indicative, and once the sample set is enlarged to increase the number of hotels, and also when reliable data is available from the hotels, a more accurate industry average could be achieved.