International partners in tourism fund e-toolkit to reduce energy consumption in hotel industry

European tourism sector addresses climate change through nearly-Zero Energy initiative using 16 hotels across the EU as leading examples.

Hotels worldwide now have a tool to help them reach zero-energy consumption courtesy of the United Nations World Tourism Organization and partners, such as Technical University of Crete, Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism and Sustainable Innovation of Sweden.

Funded by the European Union (EU) over a period of three years, the nearly-Zero Energy Hotels (neZEH) e-toolkit “assesses the energy performance of hotels and proposes measures to improve efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy sources towards nearly–zero consumption.”

According to UNWTO Press Release 16054 (July 12, 2016), “the neZEH e-toolkit evaluates the energy performance of hotels through questionnaire and identifies options for energy efficiency, including efficient use of non-renewable sources, while raising awareness on the topic through inspiring examples.”

The goal of the project is to support nearly-Zero Buildings (nZEB) regulations set forth across all EU member states by 2020.  Under the regulations, a building’s energy performance must meet specific requirements set forth that classify it as having exceptional performance by renewable energy sources. A total of sixteen hotels participated in the pilot project, which then are to become leading examples across Europe for other hotels striving for similar goals can then model from. The hotels were located across seven countries: Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said, “this unprecedented initiative shows not only the concerns, but also the high level of commitment of the tourism sector in addressing one of the worldwide preoccupations: climate change.”

According to the neZEH website, “The easy-to-use e-toolkit requires answers to a short questionnaire and consequently provides hoteliers with a report assessing their current energy profile, indicating how close the hotel is to from achieving the nearly zero energy levels and providing an indicative set of appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.”

This tool is readily available and interested hotels can create a new account by clicking here. You can also learn more about the neZEH by visiting the YouTube channel that specifically highlights the program benefits for participating hotels.

Michigan State University Extension works with local communities throughout the state to identify strengths and assets to leverage for tourism. Specific programs, such as Understanding Tourism for Michigan Communities, are available for communities to host in partnership with MSU Extension’s tourism faculty.

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