Tourism NI Leaner and Greener Cost Saving Masterclass (22 November 2022) | Key Points

Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance

INTRODUCTION

Nicki Darnbrook from NITA attended the Tourism NI event ‘Leaner and Greener Cost Saving Masterclass’ on Tuesday 22nd November 2022. For those of you who were unable to attend the event, Nicki has compiled a short summary below.  

Eimear Callaghan, Tourism NI welcomed and described the TEDNI 2022-23 programme which is focussing on how to find savings and efficiencies in your business in the midst of current rising energy and fuel prices. This first Masterclass explored how to work together to create a Leaner and Greener Tourism Industry in Northern Ireland working towards a common goal of a more sustainable future. The event included a networking break which gave attendees the opportunity to speak one to one with support providers and concluded with lunch and further networking opportunities.

STRUCTURE

Presentations were delivered from:

  • Matt Poole, Deputy GM, Titanic Hotel 
  • Tina O’Dwyer, The Tourism Space
  • Connor Whoriskey, Programme Manager, Invest NI
  • Dayna McCreadie, Senior Energy Policy Officer, Consumer Council
  • Lisa McElvinny, Deputy Manager, Business in the Community
  • Scott Howes, Strategic Lead for Climate Action, Keep NI Beautiful 

All presentations can be accessed on the Tourism NI website.

LOOKING AT THE BROADER PICTURE

Matt Poole, Titanic Hotel

  • Every organisation should have a Green Team with reps from frontline staff to executive level team from all operational departments.
  • Titanic Hotel awarded Bronze accreditation from Green Tourism.
  • Initiatives they now use, which have hugely reduced their bills without affecting the guest experience, include changing cleaning procedures, reducing temperature across the hotel, refrigerators timed off and food waste management (reduced by half each day). A major initiative was to give housekeeping personal keycards for rooms instead of leaving key cards in the key slots in guest rooms from 10am (when cleaning is finished) to 3pm (when guests arrive) thus air conditioning, electricity etc are no longer constantly on during that time, saving energy 5 hours per room per day. 
  • Inhouse satisfaction surveys highlighted sustainability is at the forefront of guests minds and can be a deciding factor when choosing a hotel.
  • Their green future includes collaboration with QUB Research on sustainability. This will help assess sustainability with 4 aims – benchmark hotel, evaluate efforts, identify greater renewable energy use and promote sustainability.

TIna O’Dwyer, The Tourism Space

Tina stated that energy management, energy costs and carbon emissions were all current concerns of the majority of businesses highlighting:

The Super Six of Better Tourism

  1. We build a profitable business.
  2. We take climate action – and make commitments to this.
  3. We benefit communities – we need the social licence to operate.
  4. We empower visitors – it is our job to improve sustainability.
  5. We champion places – protecting and enhancing our natural environment.
  6. We work with others – pooling ideas and resources.      

Climate, Carbon, Costs

  • Emphasise the things that have already been done and promote them.
  • Identify things that still need to be done and add them to your plan.
  • Leaner and greener wisdom – using less energy will reduce running costs and will reduce carbon emissions so a win win situation.
  • 8 years is the maximum pay back time to recover investment.

RANGE OF SUPPORTS AVAILABLE

Connor Whoriskey, Invest NI

Energy and Resource Efficiency Support from Invest NI

  • Invest NI provides energy and resource efficiency support aiming to help NI businesses become more competitive through cost savings. The energy and resource efficiency team exists because businesses want to grow, become more sustainable and survive in the future.
  • Businesses (within a broad range of categories) with annual resource and energy spend of at least £30k can receive 6 days free fully funded technical consultancy support – includes technical audits/feasibility studies/advice, specs tailored to business requirements and recommendations on making energy savings.
  • A new offering from Invest NI is free sustainable reports to help businesses understand their environmental impact. Advice is given on measuring, improving and monitoring environmental performance across areas of raw materials, energy, carbon, packaging, biodiversity and waste.
  • A resource efficiency capital grant of up to £50k to purchase capital equipment is available to existing Invest NI clients.
  • A resource matching service is offered to turn redundant materials into a resource for another business to reduce waste disposal costs. Businesses benefit from cost/carbon savings, prolonged use of resources and opportunities to generate additional resources.

Email ere@investni.com for further details.

Dayna McCreadie, Consumer Council

  • Online tools are available to help businesses and domestic consumers reduce costs – energy price comparison tools, home heating oil price checkers, water bill health checks, energy advice, appliance running costs.
  • Need to go back to basics and:
    1. Check bills
    2. Check rates that are being paid and tariff types (electrical tariffs, fixed rates and variable rates
    3. Speak to supplier about grants available through the NI Sustainable Energy Programme (NISEP) scheme which include LED lighting and heating control grants -applications to be submitted by 13th January 2023. 
    4. Assess energy efficiency by assessing building energy performance and electrical equipment performance using the Consumer Council Running Costs calculator and NI Business Info energy efficiency checklist.
  • Encourage behavioural change in staff travel and use of energy/water.
  • The Energy Saving Trust and the Carbon Trust can also provide advice and other tips can be found on the Consumer Council website.

Lisa McElvinny, Business in the Community

Cost of Living: A Business Response

  • Everyone (open to large businesses and SME’s) should complete the BIC NI Environmental Benchmarking Survey which helps you see where you rank in performance and gives you a gap analysis. The tool tells you what to do and the report can be used for funding applications, bank loans etc. 
  • The Climate Action Programme provides training and support to cut through terminology, telling businesses what they need to do and The Climate Hub provides toolkits and fact sheets.
  • The challenges of the cost of living crisis are detailed in the Cost of Living Hub on  the website – fuel crisis, rising grocery costs, food shortages, inflation, recession and climate.
  • Business in the Community provides practical support (with employment and skills, climate action, community engagement, wellbeing and inclusion AND programmes in relation to these, not just advice) and an advisory service.
  • The BIC website details case studies of others taking action. 
  • In NI we have ½ of the disposable income of the rest of the UK.
  • The 3 step business response:
  1. Convening business – sharing sectoral opportunities,round table discussions.
  2. Supporting employees – information hub launched on 02/12/22.
  3. Supporting communities – grass-roots intervention, targeting schools.

Scott Howes, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful

Carbon Literacy: A Greener Future

  • Carbon literacy is ‘an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual , community and organisational basis’.
  • Carbon literacy for tourism – Create space to discuss climate change, identify where your business can become part of the solution and plan, act and publicise. 
  • Carbon literacy programmes – inclusion, involvement and raising awareness. No experience is required and any SME business linked to the tourism industry in NI can register and book now for the next courses  (17-24 Jan 2023) or 14-21 March 2023) which is supported through Tourism NI and is suitable if you are starting your journey to focus on sustainability, efficiencies and cost savings. It is fully accredited and certified through the Carbon Literacy Project and is 8 hours of learning (5 hours live ZoomSignificant impact in NI and around the globe and it is important for tourism businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and focus on their sustainability journey.  meetings and 3 hours self study).
  • We cannot rely on the government to lead change, everyone needs to take responsibility and small changes help us think differently. The circle of leadership means we all lead each other, bringing us together, pushing for change.
  • Contact Scott.howes@keepnorthernirelandbeautiful.org

Sharon Pinkerton/Eimear O’Callaghan, Tourism NI

  • The  four workshops currently available in the TED Programme are:
  1. Leaner and Greener 1, Energy Management – Today
  2. Leaner and Greener 2, Water – Tuesday 24th January 2023
  3. Leaner and Greener 3, Waste – Tuesday 7th February 2023
  4. Leaner and Greener 4, Food Waste – early March 2023
  • Can also sign up for Leaner and Greener webinars on www.tourismni.com/leanergreener
  • Can also sign up now for the Carbon Literacy Tourism Programme – see above.
  • KickStart Programme is now live and provides tailored mentoring support. It is open to applicants from Phase 1 and Phase 2 and also new eligible applicants, www.tourismni.com/kickstart2

ENERGY MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP

TIna O’Dwyer, The Tourism Space

The Energy Roadmap

  • The Roadmap is needed for certification and workshop resources can be downloaded from www.tourismni.com/leanergreener.
  • It guides you through your starting point (where you are now), target (where you want to get to), action plan (how to get there), monitor and measure (how to track progress) and reviews and report (how to keep everyone informed).
  • Download the workshop resources:
    • Workbook – Leaner and Greener Roadmap, Instructions for Worksheet 1 Annual Units/Costs, Worksheet 2 Energy Equipment Audit, Improvement Action Plan Template and Top Actions to save money/energy.
    • Spreadsheets – Worksheets 1 and 2 above and the Action Plan Template.

The 10 steps for energy management are:

  1. Appoint a Green Team (large business) or Green Champion (small business) and hold regular meetings.
  2. Calculate annual units and costs (worksheet 1 – log all energy sources, convert usage to kwh, calculate how many, calculate average unit cost) and identify the most efficient energy and resource.
  3. Establish your benchmark and track performance over time and compare with other similar industries.
  4. Audit equipment – to get a clear picture on how much energy each piece consumes and how much it costs to run (worksheet 2 – use google to check KW rating if it is not marked on the equipment and use average cost unit from worksheet 1) and use the data to set targets to reduce costs and consumption and prioritise replacements or alternative systems to use without impacting the business or visitor experience.
  • Introduce a strict Switch Off policy and train your team.
  • Display Switch On/Switch Off times on each piece of equipment.
  • Display preferred temps on relevant equipment and train staff.
  • Prioritise replacing older equipment with new, more efficient models – think ‘whole of life’ costs.
  1. Audit lighting – count total number of lights and LEDs (which save 20% of the energy) and where sensors could be useful.
  • Install LED lights – replace all halogen and CFL bulbs.
  • Install motion and light sensors.
  • Eliminate unnecessary light and optimise natural light.
  1. Audit heating – establish optimum heat setting for each heat source, compare actual temperature setting to optimum and changes needed, do a candle test near windows to identify air leaks, visit attic on a windy day to identify air leaks, when was boiler serviced and can you switch to a better heating source, even over long term?
  • Service your boiler.
  • Install thermostats and train staff on operating the controls.
  • Reduce the temperature where possible.
  • Upgrade the insulation in your building.
  1. Audit refrigeration – what temperature is each fridge at (fridge – optimum 3 degrees, freezer optimum -18 degrees), is seal intact with no leaks, are there any that could be switched off even for part of day or night?
  • Check and maintain door seals.
  • Ensure temp is less than 3 deg in fridges and -18 deg in freezers.
  • Install a PVC curtain on large fridges.
  1. Observe staff and visitor behaviour – training staff to do something different can save 10-15% on energy costs – what times are equipment switched on and off, who decides when, how are thermostats managed, are doors or windows open when heat is on, is air conditioning on the same time as heating and are hot taps left running?
  • Invest in communication, training and monitoring.
  • Invite ideas for energy-saving from the team.
  • Recognise and reward great suggestions and the impact of staff actions on consumption and costs.
  1. Check where you can switch to renewables – investigating renewables – solar PV transforms energy from the sun into electricity, solar thermal technology transforms energy from the sun into hot water, heat-pumps extracts naturally occurring heat and upgrades it and biomass boiler burns wood or plant matter to generate heat. The benefits of switching include generating electricity locally, predictable costs, minimises carbon taxes, reduces carbon emissions, return on investment 4-8 years and after payback time, you generate free energy.
  • Research options thoroughly.
  • Work with a reputable supplier and check with others who have availed of their services.
  • Calculate the return on investment.
  1. Create your Energy Saving Action Plan – analyse audit outcomes, identify priorities, share outcomes with your team, brainstorm solutions and estimate costs required. Take actions with lowest costs and highest impact and complete an Energy Savings Action Plan (worksheet 3). Remember it is only an action plan if it is clear who has to take the action and when it has to be taken by. 

CONCLUSION

The workshop finished with questions relating to energy saving and how to pass the energy saving message onto visitors and tourists (polite invite to be part of your sustainable journey, light sensors and possibly industry wide stickers?) and closing remarks from Tourism NI.

TOURISM NI SUMMARY

 
To access a full range of support and resources on this topic, visit Tourism NI’s ‘Saving Energy and Reducing Waste’ hub at tourismni.com/leanergreener

For a brief update from each of our speakers, and a summary of what each of the individual presentations covered.

Tina O'Dwyer - The Tourism Space, gave us an overview on key impact areas with a focus on energy.

View Tina’s full presentation and access her Leaner and Greener Energy Roadmap and guide to energy management, including a downloadable toolkit and useful templates.

Scott Howes, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful shared details about the new carbon literacy training programme for Tourism Providers, funded by Tourism NI

The programme takes place across 2 x 2&1/2 hour virtual sessions, and registrations are now open for the following dates:

17th & 24th January 2023 / 14th & 21st March 2023

Connor Whoriskey, Invest NI shared details about the range of energy and resource efficiency support currently available from Invest NI

Watch Connor’s presentation and for full details on support available

Access downloadable pdfs and full recordings of each of the presentations from this event.