Jessica Black is Group Purchasing Manager for Firmdale’s Hotels and Drumbeat Energy Management’s Specialist Advisor to the hospitality Industry. Here, we have a chat with Jessica to discover just what it is that gives her the ‘edge’ when it comes to energy management.
Over the past decade, the hospitality industry has seen a raft of commercial and regulatory pressures resulting in both technical and emotional changes. How does a hotel add that vital element of control which leads to energy saving and reduced carbon consumption without it adversely affecting or changing the guest experience?
Whilst environmental awareness is consistently growing, these issues constitute the ever-growing challenge of how comfort and luxury is perceived and delivered. Ahead of the installation of any major technical energy saving measures, I believe the priority has to be the development of knowledge and understanding, to ensure staff can learn about the importance of energy management and what it can achieve. This can be expressed in a variety of terms, not least the considerable benefits to the local community and environment. There’s also the added bonus of enhancing the green reputation of the business – a factor becoming increasingly important to hotel guests.
You cannot buy passion and commitment. It needs to be engendered amongst staff and management through greater awareness and engagement. Altering their behaviour is the first big challenge facing any hospitality business on the road of better energy management. It does not happen overnight and needs to be managed carefully, with frequent sessions.
Human intervention and initiatives can, on their own, dramatically reduce energy consumption. Good technical changes can then follow with the understanding and backing of a committed team. A monthly progress report to the team on energy reduction is also important. The team soon becomes proud of their achievements, appreciating the huge difference that simple changes can make.
The big challenge to this scenario is labour turnover, traditionally quite high in the hospitality industry. Fortunately, within my hotel group, we have a very low turnover of staff making their involvement particularly effective. Ironically, for those in the industry with a higher staff turnover, engagement in matters of energy management may actually reduce staff turnover. It encourages them to be part of a bigger picture, to feel that their actions really matter. Another important note for the environment is that staff will often take this passion and knowledge home with them, so energy reduction and lower bills can be appreciated on a personal level.
With the introduction of the CRC, the energy market has seen many new start-up businesses advising of better energy management. For me, it has been a challenge to manage the cold calls and to asses which companies are able to offer something new that is in line with our operation. The hospitality sector is tremendously wide; what may be accepted at one hotel may not be at another. My best advice is to ensure you choose an energy management company which is willing to work with you as a partner; to work proactively through any challenges and look after you and your business ensuring the end goals are achieved. There are many management systems now in the market. But deep down, to make any changes, you need to research them thoroughly. Beyond that, to arrive at a successful decision, all you need is good common sense.
That’s what we at Drumbeat Energy Management will do. By taking the first step on your energy management journey and giving us a call, we’ll happily guarantee some time on the phone – for free. We’ll listen to your energy problems and recommend some early actions for you to consider.
Jessica Black is Drumbeat Energy Management’s Specialist Advisor to the Hospitality Industry. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Green Team of the Year – Considerate Hotel of the Year Awards 2011
Jessica Black, Group Purchasing Manager – The Considerate Green Champion of the Year award 2010
- BA Hons Degree (2-1) – International Hospitality Management – UWIC Cardiff
- Interstate Hotels, The Harbour View Hotel, Martha’s Vineyard, USA – Front of House Manager role continued employment from work placement after completion on my degree, left November 1999
- Joined Firmdale in November 1999, on Firmdale’s first management training scheme
- Food and Beverage Manager and opening team of Charlotte Street Hotel
- Deputy General Manager and opening team of Soho Hotel
- Moved to her current role in August 2007
So, come on, get some free advice – go One to One with Drumbeat Energy Management today.
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