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New Green label for energy smart hotels

03 August 2007 (CNA)

SINGAPORE - A scheme to promote energy efficiency in hotels has been launched by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to give recognition to energy efficient hotels and promote energy efficiency by the better use of resources.

At the launch of the Energy Smart Hotel Label scheme, four hotels - The Regent, Shangri-la, Intercontinental and Changi Village - made it to the inaugural list.

Noting that recognition given to the four hotels, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources who was at the launch said, "I’m sure we will be able to get more on board, because they will be able to see there are really direct, tangible benefits that can be reaped with not very significant investments really, and the payback period because of the improvement in technology is getting shorter."

Studies conducted in Singapore and other parts of the world have identified hotels as one of the more energy-intensive buildings in a city.

And having acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in April 2006, the NEA’s Chief Executive Officer Lee Yuen Hee pointed out that Singapore’s commitment to combat climate change will require support from all sectors, especially the energy and carbon-intensive ones such as the hotel industry.

Speaking at the launch of the Energy Smart Hotel Label scheme, Mr Lee stressed that energy efficiency is important to maintain Singapore’s competitiveness.

"The productive use of energy, which is what energy efficiency is about, is one additional tool that Singapore businesses can make use of to stay ahead of global competition," added Mr Lee.

Hotels currently account for almost two percent of Singapore’s total greenhouse gas emissions, mainly due to electricity consumption. In the next few years, the emissions are likely to rise with higher hotel occupancy rates and the addition of more hotel rooms.

The industry expects occupancy to increase by 1,000 rooms per year over the next two years and 4,300 new rooms by early 2010 when the two integrated resorts are completed.

By recognizing the best-performing hotels in terms of energy efficiency, it is hoped that the scheme will motivate others to make improvements to their buildings. At the same time, the building owners get to enjoy a quick payback on energy efficiency investments as they can be amortized through immediate savings from the lower energy-related operating costs.

The Regent, which is among the first to receive the Energy Smart Hotel Label, was able to realize an energy reduction of about 26% in kilowatt-hour (kWh) terms after doing an energy audit. The initiative led to measures such as the replacement of diesel boilers with a new heat recovery system which saw economic returns in about 18 months.

To participate in the scheme, hotels can engage an accredited Energy Service Company (ESCO) to conduct an audit of their energy efficiency against a set of benchmarks developed jointly by the NEA and Energy Sustainability Unit of the National University of Singapore.

The benchmarks were developed after a thorough survey involving a representative sample of 30 hotels. Building physical features, operational characteristics, and data on energy use were amongst the key factors taken into consideration in designing the benchmarks of the system.

If a hotel meets all the criteria, it qualifies for the Energy Smart Hotel Label. If not, it can conduct a more detailed study, aimed at identifying areas of inefficiency and drawing up a set of realistic targets for improvement.

NEA will fund 50% of a hotel’s audit, up to a maximum of $200,000, from its Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme introduced in April 2005 to help companies defray the cost of conducting energy audits. - CNA/ym

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