The Regent Sydney is a five-star Hotel situated in George Street, near Circular Quay. It was built 15 years ago on the historical site of Sydney's first hanging and gaol.
The building comprises 36 stories, 28 of these being accommodation. Food and beverage outlets, a health club and a number of commercial shops occupy six floors, while kitchens and a valet/laundry use up three floors.
Guest comfort and the standard of service must always be the highest priority in the Regent. Therefore setting out to achieve energy and environmental savings can only be undertaken when they do not noticeably detract from the expected standard of five-star service.
In 1992 The Regent Sydney embarked on a campaign to improve the energy and environmental measures that were already in effect within the property. The Director of Engineering assisted by other Department heads, reviewed the existing recycling program and energy usage throughout the Hotel. A Management/Staff team was then set up to ensure that the following actions were carried out:
- Eliminate and reduce waste
- Identify areas to store recyclables prior to pickup
- Identify companies that were willing to accept recycled goods
- Motivate staff to recycle all products
- Encourage staff to become involved in energy and environmental programs
- Cleaner production initiatives
The Regent’s recycling campaign involves other companies, including Australian Paper Mills, Aspex Paper, Moons Recycling (glass), and Oil Recycle.
- The Management/Staff team discovered that only glass bottles and shredded office paper were being recycled.
- Recycling of paper and cardboard with Australian Paper Mills began in September 1992, reducing the waste leaving the property (via the compactor) by 13 tonnes every two weeks. Compactor pick up has been reduced by one compactor per week, with a saving of $31,616 per annum.
- All glass bottles are collected and recycled weekly. Bottle chutes have been fitted to all outlets to enable fast and clean removal of all bottles.
- All papers and journals are recycled and some journals are sold to outside industries for placement in doctors’ and dental surgeries. Journals are sold at 10 cents per copy and approximate savings of $1500 per annum are achieved.
- All waste oil from the kitchens is collected and recycled by waste oil companies.
- Old and torn linen is reused to make smaller items such as baby cot sheets and also used for cleaning purposes.
- Suppliers' packaging was reviewed and all suppliers have been asked to use less packaging when providing goods.
Energy and water conservation
In 1992 a load analysis was carried out and Management decided to change to a more economical tariff. Changing to a new tariff resulted in a saving of $18,000*. (*Savings made through electricity tariff changes are not strictly related to cleaner production, as they do not result from reduced electricity usage.)
The change to a new tariff system also gave Management the opportunity to review the power factor of the main switchboard. Power factor capacitor banks were installed in 1993 to take further advantage of the KVA tariff and to reduce the amount of power lost due to voltage drop. Further savings of $30,000 per annum were achieved.
1,000 incandescent lamps of 75w were replaced with 13w and 10w compact fluorescent globes, where dimming controls were not available.
In 1993, the Hotel was asked to participate in an energy audit in conjunction with Pacific Power. This audit study was conducted by an environment consultant and Hotel staff. External audits involving staff, combined with internal audits, are invaluable and have produced many ideas and actions to improve the use of resources.
A 'Platypus System' was installed. This is a valve system which balances and reduces flow in hydraulic systems. The system has not only solved pressure fluctuation problems, but has also resulted in a 30% reduction in water usage. Further, a reduction in the volume of hot water used has reduced water heating costs.
CFC (Chlorofluorocarbon) reduction
The Hotel Management and Owners have drawn up a full CFC-reduction plan. Under the plan, the following actions have been taken:
- In 1992, all BCF and Halon systems were removed from the Hotel.
- All main refrigeration plants were fitted with the CFC alternatives MP39 and HP80.
Advantages of the process
When added up, all the cleaner production measures have resulted in savings of approximately $250,000 over the last few years. In addition to the financial savings, some of the measures have also helped reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Regent Sydney continues to reduce energy costs, and in 1996 and 1997 installed variable speed drives to all heavy air conditioning fans and pumps. This reduced electrical usage, thus, reducing co2 emissions.
Cleaner production incentives
The Regent in Sydney put in place recycling and waste minimisation strategies in the late 1980s, but acknowledged that further improvements could be made, particularly in tightening up the implementation of the cleaner production measures.
It has identified three key factors to ensure further improvements:
- Sound Environmental/ Energy Plan
- Commitment from management and staff
- Commitment from Property Owner
The main constraint for introducing cleaner production measures at The Regent is the five-star standard it has to protect. No waste minimisation and recycling measure must compromise the luxury service which is the Hotel’s trademark.
Special areas for large-scale recycling had to be set aside in strategic places in the Hotel. In a building that was already built and fully operational, and where space is at a premium, this space requirement had to be carefully though out. The Management/Staff team had to ensure that recycling contractors are reliable and are on time to avoid build up of material.