Hotels Turning to Maintenance Management Software as Part of Green Initiatives

5/9/2012 By Stuart Smith

The transition toward greater sustainability is impacting how hotels are approaching operations. As part of many green initiatives, more and more hotels are now implementing an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) system to gain better control of their energy usage and manage their carbon footprint. I will elaborate more on this later.

The definition of hotel sustainability has evolved over time from a simple going green idea to a philosophy that more and more organizations are recognizing as critical to their long-term success. For hotels and resorts the move toward sustainability issues is a win-win scenario.

Surveys have shown that an increasing number of guests are determining where they will stay based upon a hotel’s commitment to the world environment. So yes, part of the image building and branding of hotels is to be recognized by guests as being green friendly. Other reasons for having a sustainability plan include:

•    Evolving government regulations (across the globe) that are forcing industries to be more sensitive to the environment by reducing carbon footprints as well as lowering energy consumption.
•    Creation of a corporate culture where employees have an increased sense of well-being (lowering turnover/attracting new staff).
•    Investor relations and requirements. More institutional investors are trying to enhance their image by tagging projects as green.
•    Expense savings. This is the number one incentive that is discussed below.

Hotel management has recognized this and managers are doing their part to use recycled materials, support environmental causes, build hotels that are LEED certified and so on. Sustainability is now promoted on the websites of most leading hotel brands including Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Vail Resorts and even individual hotels such as the Excalibur in Las Vegas.

In addition, the governments of many countries now offer a variety of incentives such as tax breaks, grants and loans to encourage the increased visibility of green initiatives. Certainly, what really drives hotels, resorts and lodges toward improved sustainability is the cost benefit that flows directly to their bottom line.

Changing the Bottom Line

A key component of sustainability is managing energy (electricity and fuels), water and waste. According to E source data from 2006, water heating, space heating, lighting and cooling (HVAC) account for approximately 75 percent of a hotel or motel’s energy use.

As a result, many hotels are now setting specific targets for reducing energy use, water use, carbon output and waste output. When these objectives are part of an asset and maintenance management action plan it becomes realistic to expect significant savings.

“Energy savings of 10 percent to 20 percent (or greater) can be achievable through a technical review of plant equipment and operations and resulting implementation of energy conservation measures (ECMs),” according to Hospitality Valuation Services (HVS). The potential cost savings can exceed $100,000 or more per month and is the main financial incentive for hoteliers to justify sustainability initiatives.

The Hotel EAM CMMS Connection

The key to improving sustainability is having the right tools in place to maximize efficiencies as well as manage the assets from cradle through replacement. One good solution is an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS) software system.

EAM CMMS software is designed to ensure that maintenance management has the ability to organize asset details and subsequently schedule the appropriate maintenance activity to:

•    Maximize asset uptime through a combination of preventive and predictive technologies.
•    Address unusual energy and water usage early on through inspections or rounds. This includes water leaks, fuel leaks, struggling motors, odd sounds and so on.
•    Identify and schedule preventive maintenance on common energy hogs such as HVAC units, chillers, boilers, kitchen equipment etc.
•    Identify assets needing major repairs or replacement based upon their work history.
•    Enable hotel asset managers to always know the location and condition of their assets at any point in time.

Well maintained assets require less energy to operate than poorly maintained equipment. In addition, the benefits of implementing an EAM solution do not stop with better energy savings.

An EAM system will allow maintenance management to be proactive by giving them the automation needed by creating better efficiencies through automation of the work requests and work orders. This creates additional flexibility in scheduling maintenance and repairs, lowering labor costs as well as lowering the costs of repairs.

Increased automation also lowers a hotel’s carbon footprint as paper-based systems are rendered obsolete. When added to the documentation management features of an EAM, it is clear that an EAM CMMS should be the cornerstone of any sustainability initiative.

Stuart Smith, MBA, MS is Mintek Mobile Data Solutions' InBound Marketing Specialist with more than 20 years of operational experience. He writes all of Mintek’s blogs, applying technology to industry issues.


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