Mr. Kiesner

Eco-Friendly Practices

Voluntary Actions, Not Mandatory Caps Needed for Climate Change Issue

By Steve Kiesner, Director of National Accounts, Edison Electric Institute

Putting a mandatory cap on the country's CO2 emissions would lead to higher energy bills for you, and it would also most likely put a cap on the economy as a whole, which would slow down your guest traffic as well. While we need to address the climate change issue, McCain/Lieberman and other legislation that imposes mandatory caps on carbon are not the way to do it. There are a variety of other measures, including improving energy efficiency, that can help the country confront the climate issue today. I urge you to tell your senators not to endorse it or any other mandatory climate bills.

The McCain-Lieberman legislation originally came up in 2003. The Senate voted 'no' then. The U.S. House of Representatives has never considered a comparable version of this legislation. Economics are a major reason why.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), here's what could happen if the McCain/Lieberman bill was passed:

Every business, home, and community should be looking for ways to protect the environment. They should also look for ways to reduce the amount of CO2 they are producing. But these kinds of mandatory caps on CO2 are not the way to do it.

Long term, technological solutions on a global scale will be needed to reduce CO2 emissions. But in the short term, voluntary measures such as using energy more efficiently can have an immediate impact. Importantly, taking steps to improve energy efficiency can benefit the bottom-line as well.

For more advice and assistance in becoming more energy efficient, I encourage you to contact the electric utility or utilities that service your company. The electric utility can often be a great resource in helping you take control over your energy use. The power company will likely have historical data about when your hotel uses energy and how your energy use has grown over the years.

Some sample, no- or low-cost electric utility energy management programs include:

Other voluntary ways hotels can reduce CO2 emissions include recycling and buying products made of recycled content, conserving water (especially hot water), purchasing renewable or 'green' power from your electric utility if it is available, and planting trees. For chain hotels with a number of properties, this last action could make a significant difference on the climate issue.

The power industry formally began its voluntary efforts to address the climate issue in 1994. More than 650 electric utilities-shareholder-owned, municipal and rural cooperative-worked through EEI and the U.S. Department of Energy to create the "Climate Challenge."

These utilities pursued a variety of voluntary actions, including improving and expanding output from nuclear and fossil fuel plants; increasing energy-efficiency and demand-side management projects; investing in efficient electric technologies, methane recovery, forestry, and fly ash reuse projects; and initiating renewable energy projects.

The efforts have paid off. In 2003 alone, these voluntary efforts reduced, avoided or sequestered an estimated 261 million metric tons of CO2 emissions-nearly two-thirds of the total reductions and offsets reported to the government that year.

Last year, the electric power industry formed Power PartnersSM to respond to President Bush's Climate VISION (Voluntary Innovative Sector Initiatives: Opportunities Now) program, which sought to reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of the economy-measured as carbon-equivalent emissions per unit of economic output-by 18 percent by 2012. The Power PartnersSM agreed to cut the carbon intensity of the power sector-measured as the ratio of CO2 emissions per kilowatt-hour generated-by an equivalent of 3 to 5 percent by 2012. This reduction will be on top of the 10 percent drop in carbon intensity that has occurred since 1980, due in part to the industry's "Climate Challenge" initiative.

With the Senate expected to address the McCain/Lieberman bill and other climate legislation in the next couple of months, I urge you to ask your senators to take another approach to deal with the climate change issue. They should support Congressional legislation that promotes technology research and development; provides policy and financial incentives to encourage voluntary actions; and ensures that companies receive recognition or registration of past and future actions (via baseline protection, for example) and are not penalized for taking voluntary actions today.

Your senators should also be supporting the comprehensive energy bill now being considered in Congress. This bill encourages energy efficiency and conservation, promotes renewable energy sources, and stimulates the design and deployment of advanced nuclear technologies, clean coal technologies and hydrogen technologies aimed at reducing GHG emissions and moving America away from its dependence on foreign oil.

All these steps will move the country closer to achieving President Bush's goal of voluntarily trimming the U.S. economy's GHG intensity (amount of carbon produced per dollar of GDP) by 18 percent by 2012. Meeting this commitment will prevent 400 million metric tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases annually from entering the atmosphere. This is comparable to the average progress of the nations now participating in the Kyoto Protocol.

The hotel industry should be concerned-as every industry should-about protecting the future of our planet. Voluntary actions, not mandatory caps on CO2 emissions, are a proven way we can address the climate issue today without sacrificing our economy tomorrow.

Steve Kiesner is Director of the Edison Electric Institute’s National Accounts Program. Based in Washington, D.C., Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is the association of United States shareholder-owned electric companies, international affiliates and industry associates worldwide. Our U.S. members serve approximately 90 percent of the ultimate customers in the shareholder-owned segment of the industry, and nearly 70 percent of all electric utility ultimate customers in the nation. They generated almost 70 percent of the electricity generated by U.S. electric utilities. Mr. Kiesner can be contacted at 202-508-5000 or Extended Bio... retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
General Search:

JULY: Hotel Spa: Measuring the Results

Robert Vance

Wellness tourism not only drives revenue, it is a required service for any luxury property. Total revenue for the spa industry surpassed $16 billion in 2015 and is anticipated to exceed $20 billion by 2020. Further encouragement, a recent ISPA study showed that 56% of millennials have visited a spa within the last year; never have we seen a demographic so involved in wellness. Guests are savvier when it comes to healthy hotel concepts and hold higher programming expectations. Thus, as the hospitality industry commits to developing wellness platforms, the rewards of investing in guest health far outweigh the risks. READ MORE

Sylvain Pasdeloup

Many luxury, five-star beach resorts on the world-famous holiday island destination of Bali put their spa and wellness services and facilities as among their top features. Many also promote their spa and wellness features as ‘one-stop’ retreat highlights, with all-round spa-and-stay packages available, tailored to cover the essentials, ranging from health-conscious dining (oftentimes with calorie counts and other nutritional aspects taken in), various fitness and recreational activities to be had on the resort grounds, with treatments at the resort’s dedicated spa facility or onsite beauty clinics. The trends in spa and wellness have recently gone further with science-based aspects included. READ MORE

Michael G. Tompkins

In the last decade, we have seen an increased willingness of hospitality and spa companies to cross geographical and cultural divides and move into markets outside of their traditional regions. It is really a function of and a result of globalization, which is impacting all business sectors. One geographical jump that seems to be getting a lot of attention these days is the Asian hospitality market. Big investors in the East are diving head-first into the Western wellness boom by buying landmark spa properties in the United States, recruiting top executive talent to lead their spa divisions in Asia, and integrating their traditional spa modalities with modern wellness culture. READ MORE

Claire Way

How many of us would admit that we are addicted to our screens? The need to be in the know is a habit that is hard to break. Parents, recognizing this addiction in themselves, and the effects on their well-being are increasingly concerned about the effect screen addiction will have on their children. To counteract this, parents are investing time and money in helping their kids develop better habits; this is where spas can play a key role. Encouraging children to connect with wellness for prevention ensures they grow-up with the knowledge and passion to remain in the best health. READ MORE

Coming Up In The August Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key
The challenge for hotel food and beverage operations is to serve the personal tastes and needs of an increasingly diverse population and, at the same time, to keep up with ever-evolving industry trends. In order to accomplish this, restaurateurs and hoteliers have to flex their creative muscles and pull out all the stops to satisfy their various audiences. One way to achieve this is to utilize existing food spaces in multiple ways at different times of the day. Lunch can be casual and fast, while dinnertime can be more formal and slower paced. The same restaurant can offer counter service by day but provide table service by night, with a completely different menu and atmosphere. Changes in music, lighting, uniforms and tabletop design contribute to its transformation. This multi- purpose approach seeks to meet the dining needs of guests as they change throughout the day. Today’s restaurants also have to go to great lengths to fulfill all the diverse dietary preferences of their guests. The popularity of plant-based, paleo, vegan, and gluten and allergen-free diets means that traditional menus must evolve from protein-heavy, carb-loaded offerings to those featuring more vegetables and legumes. Chefs are doing creative things with vegetables, such as experimenting with global cuisines or incorporating new vegetable hybrids into their dishes. Another trend is an emphasis on bold and creative flavors. From chili oil to sriracha to spicy maple syrup, entrees, desserts and beverages are all being enhanced with spice and heat. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.