We recognize the strategic importance of increasing environmental efficiency within our hotels. We evaluate opportunities and invest in programs which reduce energy and water consumption while increasing profitability. Recent and ongoing measures to address resource efficiency include energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water fixtures, building and guestroom-specific energy management systems, heating upgrades, ventilation, air-conditioning, refrigeration systems, and participating in regional demand response programs. We intend to continue implementing measures that bolster our commitment to environmental stewardship while assessing opportunities in underinvested areas.
Efficiency Investments and Environmental Performance
In 2019, we invested $941,762 in energy and water efficiency projects across our portfolio:
Our approach to investing in optimizing the overall efficiency of our hotels is reflected in our historical environmental performance across energy, greenhouse gas emissions, and water. While we recognize that environmental efficiency is an ongoing journey, we are proud of how our hotels have performed. In addition, we are also committed to working with our third-party hotel management companies to improve waste tracking to disclose waste performance going forward.
Since 2017, within our comparable portfolio we decreased our energy intensity by 0.83%, and our carbon emissions intensity by 8.32%. We believe this reduction is a result of our investments in energy efficiency projects, which in addition to reducing our environmental impact has also reduced our energy related expenses. Our water consumption intensity decreased by 3.65% from 2017 to 2019. Reducing our water consumption is particularly important considering that 23% of our portfolio are in areas experiencing high or extremely high-water stress. Therefore, reducing our consumption will help mitigate not only the operational risk associated with future changes to water pricing, but also the overall water stress.
We track the efficiency profile of our hotels on a routine basis to monitor progress and identify opportunities. Noteworthy portfolio-wide environmental practices through 2020 include:
- Nearly 40 of our hotels have been accepted into the TripAdvisor® GreenLeaders™ Program;
- 77% of our properties have equipped more than 90% of their guestrooms with digital thermostats;
- 76% of our properties utilize an environmental management system;
- 73% of our properties have more than 90% low-flow toilets, faucets, or showerheads; and
- 70% of our properties have eliminated the usage of plastic straws.