How Can IoT Make The Hospitality Sector More Sustainable?
Going green is an absolute necessity for the hotel industry's future. Read to see how IoT can help make hospitality more sustainable.
The Internet of Things is one such transformative solution. By connecting all sorts of devices, sensors, and appliances to the internet, IoT creates a network where data can be collected and analyzed to optimize processes. In the sustainability conversation, this data can help reduce energy and water consumption, decrease waste, and generally make the hospitality sector more efficient.
Unsurprisingly, many hoteliers have been hesitant to adopt disruptive technologies like IoT, primarily because of high implementation costs and data security concerns. Nevertheless, the benefits far outweigh the risks. With the right strategy, hoteliers can use IoT to attain their sustainability goals while reducing operating costs and improving the guest experience.
So, are you in the hospitality sector? Read on to uncover how IoT can make your business more sustainable.
According to a report by Dexma Energy Intelligence, energy accounts for up to 10% of the hotel industry's total operating costs and 60% of its carbon footprint. The typical hotel uses a lot of energy for heating, cooling, lighting, and operating appliances. Therefore, managing energy consumption is essential for reducing costs and becoming more sustainable.
IoT can help automate your hotel's energy management in several compelling ways.
- Real-time energy consumption data can reveal areas where energy is wasted, so you know where to focus your efforts. For example, smart thermostats and room sensors can adjust room features like air conditioning, lighting, and blinds to match occupancy levels.
- IoT devices can help monitor the performance of devices and appliances throughout your hotel and identify when repairs are necessary. Addressing issues in power-hungry systems, such as those found in cold rooms, laundry rooms, and spas, before they become significant problems can dramatically improve their energy efficiency.
- You can use IoT-enabled energy management software to automatically generate work orders for staff and schedule preventive maintenance tasks. That way, you can ensure your hotel's systems are always running at peak efficiency.
The hospitality industry is extremely reliant on water, yet this resource is often wasted due to poor plumbing, lackluster maintenance, and human error. A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that the average hotel room uses 400 gallons of water per day, yet guests actually use only 37% of this water. The remaining 63% is wasted through leaks, toilets that flush automatically, and other inefficiencies.
Installing water-saving fixtures is one way to reduce water waste, but more is needed. That's where IoT can help.
- Monitoring water usage in real-time with IoT can help you identify areas where water is wasted and take timely steps to address the issue. For example, if a toilet is leaking, an IoT sensor can alert your plumbing contractor or maintenance crew so they can fix the problem as soon as possible.
- IoT can regulate water usage automatically throughout your hotel. For example, you can install sensors that detect when guests are using water in their room and turn off the flow automatically when they stop.
- Using connected sensors to collect water usage data over time can help you develop more efficient policies and procedures for conserving this vital resource. For example, sensors monitoring showerhead output can reveal which showerheads use the most water. Then, you can retrofit high-flow showerheads with more efficient models, saving thousands of gallons of water.
- IoT can help bolster your water recycling efforts by automatically monitoring water quality in your hotel's wastewater system. Sensors can monitor pollutant levels in real-time, giving you a clear picture of the water's condition and how to recycle or discharge it.
Reduced Food Waste
Food waste is a significant problem in the hospitality industry. Collectively, hotels contribute 12% of the total food waste globally. This wasted food ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
The reasons hotels waste food are many and varied. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average hotel wastes 4-10% of the food it purchases long before it reaches the customer due to over-purchasing, poor storage practices, and cooking errors. Much more waste is generated during food preparation and after serving, as guests often leave unfinished meals on their plates.
If your hotel has been grappling with food waste, IoT can help you tackle the problem from multiple fronts.
- Using barcode scanners to monitor the flow of food in and out of your store can help you streamline ordering and inventory management and reduce wastage due to over-purchasing. You can also effectively enforce the first-in-first-out policy to ensure food is used before it goes bad.
- In the kitchen, IoT-enabled appliances can help reduce cooking errors and resulting food waste. For example, some ovens have sensors that can automatically adjust cooking times and temperatures based on the food type. That way, meals are prepared to perfection every time, reducing the likelihood of waste.
- Sensors in garbage cans can help track leftover food and identify food waste patterns. So, if you notice that a particular type of food is being thrown out more often than others, you can adjust your menu or cooking methods to minimize the waste.
- Finally, equipping your staff with IoT-enabled devices can empower them to take immediate action when food is wasted. For example, if a guest leaves half a plate of food behind, your staff can quickly snap a photo of the meal and send it to the kitchen. The chef can then find out why the dish was not finished and take steps to avoid wasting food.
Improved Air Quality
Indoor air quality can significantly impact the health and comfort of guests and employees. Poor air quality can cause various respiratory problems, headaches, and fatigue. In hotels, common sources of indoor air pollution include:
- Cleaning chemicals.
- Off-gassing from carpets and furnishings.
- Outside contaminants like traffic fumes.
IoT can help you monitor and improve indoor air quality in your hotel in several ways.
- Sensors can track the levels of various contaminants in the air. With this information, you can identify sources of pollution and take steps to mitigate them. For example, if you notice traffic fumes seeping into your hotel, you can install air filters or adjust your HVAC system to improve the air quality.
- IoT-enabled HVAC systems can also help enhance air quality by automatically adjusting fresh air flow into the building.
- By monitoring the air quality in real-time, you can make proactive changes to your cleaning protocols to ensure that the air quality is always up to par. That way, guests and employees can breathe easily, knowing that the air they're inhaling is clean and healthy.
Make your hotel more sustainable with IoT
Sustainability has always been a critical concern for the hospitality industry, and IoT can play a significant role in making it more sustainable. From reducing energy consumption to enhancing water conservation, IoT provides hoteliers with new ways to improve the guest experience while reducing their environmental impact. As IoT technology continues to evolve, we expect to see even more sustainable innovations in the hospitality sector.