Questions about the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative
(HCMI) (source: HCMI methodology)
- Why do this?
- Why use this website?
- Who should use this methodology?
- My hotel already report on CO2 emissions?
- Should my calculations be verified?
- Which hotel companies were involved in the development of HCMI?
- Who are WTTC and ITP?
- I already report on my carbon emissions. Why use HCMI?
- Does HCMI align with carbon footprinting measurement standards used in other industries?
- How often do I need to calculate my hotel's carbon emissions?
- How long will this take me?
- What is included in the calculations?
- What are the outputs?
- What is the reporting period?
- What data is required?
- How do I obtain energy consumption data?
- How are private space treated?
- Why is outsourced laundry included?
- What are Emission Factors?
- What if my hotel has been refurbished during the year?
- What about seasonality?
- Why report on occupied rooms instead of total rooms?
- What if my hotel was closed for part of the year?
- What if I use energy from renewable sources/green energy?
- How do I account for onsite renewable energy generation?
- How about carbon offsets?
- How do I know whether my carbon footprint is good or bad?
- What if my competitors have a lower footprint?
- How can I reduce my energy consumption?
- How about other environmental issues such as waste, water, product life cycle assessment, food procurement, etc.?
- What is global warming?
- What causes climate change?
- Could we be wrong about climate change?
- What is a greenhouse gas?
- What does CO2e mean?
- How does the greenhouse effect work?
- What are fossil fuels?
The HCMI methodology is aimed for use in all hotel types globally.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel & Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity. Travel & Tourism accounts for 255 million jobs globally. At US$6 trillion (9% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth. For more than 20 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading, private sector Travel & Tourism businesses. These Members bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making, raising awareness of the importance of the industry as an economic generator of prosperity. WTTC’s Sustainability Initiative has already concluded a number of projects aimed at driving sustainable economic recovery and growth, namely: the Leading the Challenge on Climate Change report, and ‘Climate Change – A Joint Approach to Addressing the Challenge’.
Your hotel will be able to improve how it communicates its environmental impacts to customers.
Currently, approaches to measuring and reporting on carbon emissions vary widely. This can lead to confusion amongst consumers, particularly corporate clients, looking to understand their own potential carbon footprint and meet their own goals/targets in this area In addition, the number and range of methodologies and tools in use make transparency of reporting within the hotel industry a challenge.
The diagram below shows how the reporting and disclosure period would work year on year:
• Total area of guest rooms and corridors • Total area of meeting facility space • Total number of occupied rooms for reporting year • Total energy consumption for the reporting year. Energy consumption may come from the following sources: o Fuels consumed on-site such as natural gas (stationary combustion), oil and other fuels o Purchased electricity o If applicable, other energy sources such as steam and chilled water, district heating or refrigerants • If the hotel has any private space (area not accessible to hotel guests or conference attendees, e.g. private apartments): Private space are and total conditioned space area• If applicable, outsourced laundry information: i.e. your hotel’s share of energy consumption or your laundry tonnage.
Total laundry tonnage may be obtained from laundry suppliers or from invoices. Alternatively, a reasonable estimate can be obtained by weighting the average amount of laundry used in a room and multiplying by the number of occupied rooms for the reporting period.
If you do not have data for the entire year, you may estimate your consumption based on the following estimation techniques:
• Pro rata estimation: using a proportional method based on actual consumption from another similar period. • Direct comparison: using data that corresponds with a similar period of supply. The advantage of this is that it accommodates variability in energy demand (e.g. gas consumption in winter and summer months). • Price settlement: using the unit price shown on an earlier bill for this billing period or an average price per unit to convert energy costs into consumption data.
• Subtracting the sub-metered energy consumption of the private space (if all energy sources used in the private areas are sub-metered); or
• Subtracting a percentage of energy consumption based on area apportionment of private space compared to total condition space.
The Emission Factors used by HotelCO2.com come from reputable, 3rd party source such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the International Energy Agency, the Climate Registry, or national agencies such as the US Environment Protection Agency or the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change.
However, hotels undertaking major refurbishments should disclose this information.
Please note that because some areas or countries have cleaner electricity from the grid. A hotel’s carbon emissions may vary by regions based on carbon emission factors and not energy consumption.
Questions About Carbon Emissions and Climate Change
(Source: Woodland Trust)
Global climate change is caused by many natural processes, such as volcanic activity, forest fires and patterns of solar activity.
Since the industrial revolution, humans have been burning increasing quantities of fossil fuels -- oil, coal and gas -- releasing carbon into the atmsophere in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Carbon dioxide is an important "greenhouse gas" (GHG), which traps more of the sun's energy and causes the atmosphere to heat up. This is the process known as "global warming". Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and more potent GHGs have increased sharply in recent decades.
The environmental impacts of climate change are potentially devastating
Increasing temperatures affect the weather by altering oceanic and atmospheric currents, and melting glaciers and icesheets. Rainfall can be increased or reduced, as can temperatures (shifting ocean currents can bring colder polar air to a region).
Scientific predictions in this field are changing very rapidly as our understanding of climate change deepens.
Climate change is set to accelerate as feedback mechanisms kick in. The action of these mechanisms is the basis for the concept of ecological "tipping points", the triggering of a chain of events that flip an ecosystem from one state to another.
There is an overwhelming body of evidence that human industrial activities are having a devastating effect on the natural world. Polar ice sheets and glaciers are melting, pollutants are having a direct impact on many species, and ocean acidifcation is destroying vital coral reef ecosystems upon which the livelihoods of one billion people depend.
However, such short term effects are simply part of the natural variation in climate patterns: it is the underlying long term trends that are important.
That's the difference between the weather and the climate. The weather is the short term pattern of events that give us our day to day conversational topics. The climate is the longer term trend towards a warming planet, together with the increased frequency of extreme events such as hurricanes.
All the evidence suggests that the long term trend is towards higher mean annual temperatures: global warming and the climate change it brings is indeed very real and is happening now.
However, rapid changes in the levels of GHGs – and subsequent rapid changes in the average annual temperature – can lead to more chaotic weather patterns, with extreme events such as hurricanes, droughts and floods increasingly common.
In order of their effect on the climate, the most important GHGs are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. There are other important GHGs, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Some GHGs exert far more powerful climate forcing effects, many thousands of times more potently than CO2. While the sheer volume of CO2 being released is the main reason for the apparent focus on carbon, other emissions sources should not be neglected.
Tackling climate change requires a comprehensive range of activity that includes emissions reduction at source, increased efficiency of essential fossil fuel use, and mitigation of GHG impacts through activities such as woodland creation.
When talking about greenhouse gas emissions, the convention is to use CO2, or more specifically CO2 equivalent (CO2e). This allows us to describe the warming potential of any greenhouse gas in terms of the equivalent atmospheric warming effect of CO2, effectively a common currency.
For example, one tonne of methane released into the atmosphere has the same impact on the climate as 23 tonnes of CO2, whereas nitrous oxide is 296 times more potent than CO2.
A real nasty, such as sulphur hexafluoride -- used in the manufacture of electrical systems -- has 22,200 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide!
The unit used is CO2e, meaning carbon dioxide equivalent. Expressing the global warming potential of various GHGs in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide required to produce the same effect makes the impact of differing emissions easier to understand. It also enables a trading system to exist, much as common currencies help economic markets to flourish... or flounder!
When we talk about reducing our carbon footprint, we really mean reducing our greenhouse gas emissions generally.
Higher concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere mean that more solar energy is trapped, so raising the planet’s surface temperature.
Throughout the Earth's history there have been large changes in the concentrations of various greenhouse gases. These changes, particularly when they have happened over a relatively short period of time, have brought profound changes to all living things. The potential impact of the current rapid rise in GHG concentrations, which has happened since the Industrial Revolution, are a significant cause for concern.
Feedback processes can enhance the greenhouse effect, a striking example being the melting of the polar ice sheets. The reduced ice cover exposes a much darker surface (water or land), which in turn absorbs yet more heat, speeding the melting process still further. Click on the diagram to the right for a schematic view of the greenhouse effect.
In time, they are buried deep underground where they safely remain until we dig them up. Burning those fuels allows power generation, but also releases huge quantities of CO2 back into the atmosphere.
By definition, fossil fuels will eventually run out. There has been endless debate over whether or not we have reached "peak oil", the point at which global production peaks.