Premier Inn owner goes green with sustainability build

by Ella FAIRCHILD on July 14, 2010

Whitbread Plc, one of the UK’s largest restaurant and hotel groups, said it will begin a sustainable refurbishment scheme designed to improve its building stock to reduce carbon emissions and water consumption.

Costing more than £7m, the hotel group will seek to improve its environmental performance at all its properties, including coffee shops, hotels and restaurants. The move comes as part of the group’s larger strategy called Good Together, which seeks to boost overall sustainability performance. The hotelier hopes, as part of the programme, to be able to reduce its energy consumption by 26 per cent and its water use by 20 per cent in time for upcoming targets in 2020.

As part of the retrofit, 20,000 low-flow showerheads will be installed at all Premier Inn hotel bathrooms. The switch will save up to 88 Olympic swimming pools worth of water a year. Additionally, the group will install £2.6m worth of low-energy LED light bulbs, which will replace 75,000 standard light bulbs at its facilities. The move will save an estimated 6,200 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions each year as well as help the group fiscally by reducing energy bills.

Other steps to save energy and water will include voltage optimisation, thermal building insulation, bathroom tap restrictions, dual flush toilets and automated lighting systems. Chris George, head of energy and environment at Whitbread, said that the hotel group was hoping to the lead the UK market in green policy by achieving more sustainability at its properties. He added that the scale of the programme and construction was exciting, because the group has the largest portfolio of restaurant and hotel properties in the UK.

The group is also supporting a sustainable new build scheme that will see the birth of a second generation of green and low-carbon hotels and restaurants. Already set to open, Beefeater in West Sussex and Burgess Hill’s Premier Inn are already on track to follow the green pilot.

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