The on-site sustainability project – which marks the the largest batch of solar installations Whitbread has ever undertaken – is expected to generate more than 1,326MWh of power each year, saving an average of 6,132 tonnes of CO2 for Whitbread.

The installations will provide approximately 10% of each Premier Inn hotel’s total annual energy usage and are expected to result in a £280,000 saving in Whitbread’s energy costs. All of the installations qualify for feed-in tariff subsidies, having been registered before the 15 January reduction in tariff rates.

Whitbread’s corporate social responsibility director James Pitcher explained that the solar investment forms part of the group’s wider strategy to reduce carbon emissions across the business. “It will support us in meeting our 2020 target of reducing carbon by 15% relative to sales turnover, and we’ll continue to develop our energy management strategy in line with the growth of our business,” Pitcher said. 

Largest batch

The three largest rooftop solar installations were constructed at the Premier Inn hotels in Ipswich North, Wirral and Basildon – each producing 30kWp.

When asked by edie about whether the Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) had alerted Whitbread to the potential business benefits of these solar installations, a spokesperson for the company revealed that the Scheme hadn’t directly assisted with its PV investment programme but that it will continue to invest in these technologies when appropriate, as part of a wider commitment to carbon reduction.  

Sustainability targets

This rooftop solar rollout follows a series of Whitbread CSR announcements and upgrades in its bid to become a sustainability leader within the hospitality sector. Last year, Whitbread announced a new set of sustainability targets for 2020, having achieved existing goals three years ahead of schedule. The company revealed plans to reduce carbon by a further 15% against a 2014 baseline, while increasing recycling rates to 80%.

In July 2015, edie took a closer look at Whitbread’s work with Waterscan on water efficiency, following their Water Management Award at the 2014 Sustainability Leaders Awards. Through that collaboration, Whitbread is on track to save more than a million cubic metres of water by 2017, against a 2009 baseline. 

And at the start of this year, the company announced that the Abu Dhabi Premier Inn had slashed water use by 24%, with help from an innovate greywater recycling system.

On-site solutions at edie Live 2016

From energy management systems to rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling, recovering waste heat to energy generation, the on-site technology solutions available are vast. However, deciding where to start and selecting the right focus for your business can be an involved and confusing process.

The on-site solutions theatre at edie Live 2016 in May will examine the options open to sustainability, energy and facilities managers responsible for energy and water on their sites.

Delegates will benefit from expert case studies drawn from across business sectors. From the UK’s largest onsite solar installations, to small-scale, single site solutions, hear from those sustainability professionals that have already done the work and are making it happen for their business.

Find out more and register to attend edie Live for FREE here.

George Ogleby

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