Hyatt Cuts Energy, Water & Waste by 10% on Path to 2015 Green Goals

Hyatt Cuts Energy, Water & Waste by 10% on Path to 2015 Green Goals

With four years to go until 2015 -- the target year for reaching its energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste reduction goals -- Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is making significant progress.

According to Brigitta Witt, vice president corporate responsibility for the company, energy, water and waste have been reduced by 10 percent since 2006 at approximately 200 full-service, Hyatt-managed hotels around the world. There have also been substantial cuts in Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions since 2009, the year Hyatt began tracking emissions.

"We have been tracking energy and water since 1994," Witt says. "We saw there was a huge opportunity to use that data to help manage our utility costs. We had the right perspective way back then."

As part of its Hyatt Earth program, Hyatt's 2015 goals include the following: reduce energy consumption per square meter by 25 percent; reduce greenhouse gas emissions per square meter by 25 percent; reduce water consumption per guest night by 20 percent; and reduce waste sent to landfill per guest night by 25 percent.

Hyatt measures its progress with Hyatt Eco Track, a Web-based tool that engineers enter data into each month. Everything from water consumption to waste diverted and waste sent to landfill is tracked. Property data was consolidated into a central database by Hyatt for the first time in 2004. The tracking program has been known as Hyatt Eco Track for just the last few years.

Engineers working in Hyatt Eco Track can monitor trends at their own properties. Each month they also receive reports showing how their hotels compare with others in the Hyatt system. Progress is tracked at the corporate level and regional level. "At the end of the year we report progress for each property," Witt says. While it is currently Hyatt's full-service hotels that are participating in Hyatt Eco Track, the company is working to also integrate its select-service properties.

Green Teams Drive Success

Key to the success of Hyatt Earth and Hyatt Eco Track is the company's nearly 300 green teams. "We have green teams in all of our hotels," Witt says. "We give them an opportunity to share best practices using a Facebook-like platform called Hyatt Earth Community. We provide all associates with six hours of environmental training to help them identify steps to take at their properties." My Green Touches is a program that provides simple environmental steps associates can take on a daily basis, specific to their job function.

To ensure that future and existing hotel buildings are designed with sustainability in mind, Hyatt has created sustainable design guidelines. One example of a change is in loading dock space. "In our design guidelines we are increasing loading dock space -- to be able to recycle more and store more materials," Witt says. "Some of our loading docks were not big enough."

In 2010, Hyatt's managed, full service properties in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean began participating in the Green Key Eco-Rating Program, which provides properties with an opportunity to demonstrate environmental progress using a uniform scorecard. Nearly 100 of the company's hotels have earned Green Key ratings; five have earned the highest 5-Key status.

Earlier this year, Hyatt launched Hyatt Thrive, the company's global corporate responsibility platform that includes environmental sustainability. As part of Hyatt Thrive, Hyatt next year will launch a Hyatt Thrive Leadership Award to recognize properties making the greatest strides in community engagement and environmental achievement.

All of Hyatt's efforts have resulted in it progressing significantly closer to its 2015 goals.

"Without the passion and energy that our associates put behind our efforts, we could not have come as far as a company," Witt says.

This article originally appeared on GreenLodgingNews.com and is reprinted with permission.

Hyatt solar installation photo courtesy of Hyatt.