Commercial, Energy Efficiency - November 9, 2022 - By Better Buildings, U.S. Department of Energy
Loews Hotels & Co - 50001 Ready at 11 Hotels
Loews Hotels & Co operates 26 hotels and resorts throughout the United States and Canada. The company strives to be an industry leader in environmental sustainability. Loews established the Loews Hotels Green Program, which comprises a number of strategies to save energy and other resources, as well as promoting local sustainable agriculture and several other initiatives.
To support these green efforts, Loews participates in several U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) energy efficiency initiatives. Loews joined the ENERGY STAR program more than a decade ago. The company then undertook the Better Buildings Challenge, committing to improving energy efficiency by at least 20% over 10 years, based on a 2012 baseline.
In 2021, Loews enhanced its hotel energy management systems. Eleven properties pursued DOE’s 50001 Ready program, joining a cohort led by VEIC, a 50001 Ready Partner. With the help of the Cohort and DOE’s 50001 Ready Navigator tool, and the Loews team, the hotel Brand received 50001 Ready recognition status for all 11 properties that participated in the program.
Before tackling 50001 Ready, the Loews Hotels Green Program had already taken a key step: establishing a corporate energy team and hotel-based “green teams.” The green teams conduct self-assessments of hotel-level environmental practices, including monitoring and analyzing energy use, as well as waste generation, water consumption, and recycling efforts. In addition, ASHRAE Level II audits were conducted at most sites in 2017 and 2018.
The 50001 Ready Program motivated the next phase: establishing an energy management team at every facility. Each team is led by the property’s director of engineering, who is responsible for energy management. Each site participated in a series of monthly training webinars, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions. The team also took on the work of completing the tasks in the Navigator tool, which is mandatory for 50001 Ready recognition. For each participating hotel site, the program helped Loews build an individualized blueprint for energy management systems. Each site participated in a series of monthly training webinars as well as one-on-one coaching sessions halfway between each session. All 11 teams received assistance from VEIC via twice-monthly one-on-one calls.
50001 Ready was a success for the 11 hotels that piloted the program. Over time, Loews aims to earn recognition across the rest of the portfolio making 50001 Ready a brand standard. The top takeaways from the program are now being shared companywide. Loews will continue to modify the tools and strategies they learned on their journey to achieve 50001 Ready recognition status.
Implementing a 50001 Ready Energy Management System
- Corporate backing: Buy-in from the C-suite is critical to success. Strategies to improve the energy management system are of no use to a company without management support. For Loews, 50001 Ready is an important action in a larger sustainability strategy that has become ingrained in the corporate culture. As 50001 Ready preparations implementation led to positive results, Loews executives started a monthly corporate energy call with energy teams to review and discuss energy management system updates. These monthly calls are intended to help not only the 11 existing energy management teams but also the 15 remaining hotel sites in their pursuit of 50001 Ready recognition. These calls are just one demonstration of high-level support to improve site-level energy performance.
- Grassroots support: Loews’ success is directly linked to ensuring those contributing to enhancing energy management systems understand the value. Having a structured, site-wide program helped generate broad awareness about the goals—not just what they are on paper but what they ultimately achieve in the real world: a sustainable future. The program is only as valuable as the company’s commitment, from the C-suite to the mail room.
- Proactive data tracking. By working toward 50001 Ready recognition, the process reaffirmed for the energy teams the value and the importance of tracking energy and how to use the results to develop energy management strategies and make adjustments to current processes. The hotel sites are working to be more proactive, regularly looking at energy consumption data to find and resolve problems quickly, rather than learning about them at the end of the month (after energy has been expended—and the utility bill has arrived).
- Enhanced Navigator Playbook: Loews took advantage of the 50001 Ready Navigator Playbook, a resource that helps energy teams work through Navigator tasks by offering a repository to organize, save, and track completed documents. The energy teams took this to the next level by translating the playbook into spreadsheet form, with a tab for each playbook task. The energy teams see this resource as one that the company can use indefinitely, continually adding new information and improving the tool. With this 50001 Ready blueprint customized for each hotel, a new director of engineering can step into the last person’s shoes and continue energy management efforts with little to no time lost.
The hotel brand recently surpassed its Better Buildings Challenge goal. The company improved the energy performance of its hotels, not by the targeted 20% but by over 24%. Loews credits 50001 Ready as a successful step on its path toward corporate sustainability goals.
And the benefits go beyond financial savings. Since starting the program, building comfort has improved. Thanks to enhanced control systems, a hotel room can reach the desired room temperature quickly and efficiently.
Furthermore, Loews uses the 50001 Ready recognition to enhance being a sustainable hotel brand, marketing a value of growing importance to partners and clients. For example, the company now participates in TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program, which helps interested parties find sustainable hotel properties.
This column originally appeared on the Better Buildings website.
Through DOE's Better Buildings Initiative, more than 900 commercial, public, industrial, and residential organizations share their proven energy efficiency strategies and inspire others to tap into the continued potential for energy efficiency. Collectively these organizations have saved 2.5 quadrillion Btus of energy, equivalent to $15.3 billion, and 155 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Partners have reduced their water use by 13.7 billion gallons. Together, partners represent more than 35 of the country's Fortune 100 companies, 10 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 14% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as more than 100 state and local governments spanning the nation.