Whitbread now powered by 100% renewable electricity

Britain's biggest hospitality can now stake claim to being powered by 100% renewable sources after striking a deal for green electricity to be supplied to its hotels, restaurants and coffee shops across the country.

Premier Inn and Costa Coffee owner Whitbread, which serves more than 28 million customers every month, has agreed a renewable energy tariff with SSE covering all of the firm’s purchased electricity.

Whitbread’s director of sustainability James Pitcher said: “As the UK’s largest hospitality brand, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to drive change within the industry which is why we have made this decision for the business.

“Whitbread is committed to minimising its environmental impact and operating is a way that respects people and the planet and we hope this will be a landmark step in helping to set the industry standard.”

The deal covers all electricity within the UK, with the exception of 15 Whitbread sites where small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) units have been installed. Whilst not a ‘renewable’ energy source, CHP is regarded as energy-efficient generation, helping to reduce overall carbon emissions through use of the heat from engines within the individual sites. CHP provides less than 1% of electricity consumed by Whitbread.

More than 99% of Whitbread’s total electricity usage is purchased, with the remainder generated through on-site solar PV systems. Last year, for example, edie reported that the company had completed the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of 88 Premier Inn hotels across the country. These PV systems together generate more than 1,326MWh of power each year, saving an average of 6,132 tonnes of CO2 for Whitbread.

The company has also progressed with the development of ‘zero-energy’ stores, with the ultra-efficient ‘eco-pod’ café concept being gradually introduced to the Costa Coffee estate. And more recently, Whitbread opened Europe’s largest coffee roastery for its Costa brand, which the firm claims to be “one of the most sustainable buildings in the world”.

Case study: Costa’s new low-carbon coffee roastery

What makes the new £38m roastery in Basildon so sustainable? edie recently put together a free case study which provides an overview of all the low-carbon and resource-efficient features of the retailer’s flagship sustainability project.

The new 85,690 sq.ft site is expected to produce 2.1 billion cups of coffee each year and incorporates an array of onsite renewables, low-carbon technologies and recycled materials, which together helped the project achieve BREEAM Outstanding levels during its assessment phase.

Our three-page case study breaks down all of the key facts and stats behind the project, and provides an insight into how and why Costa is putting sustainability front of mind through a period of continued business expansion.

Read the case study here.

Luke Nicholls

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