Demand by eco-conscious consumers, coupled with soaring utility costs, are driving hoteliers across the country to consider alternative heating solutions.
Renewable heat in the form of biomass is currently enjoying a spike in popularity within the hospitality industry, according to the Carbon Trust, due to its promise to cut costs and reduce carbon footprints while to increasing self-sufficiency and creating jobs.
Biomass systems burn wood pellets, chips or logs to power central heating and hot water boilers. Although costs can vary, wood fuel is cheaper than other hydrocarbon based fuels and is a lower carbon option. This is because the carbon dioxide emitted when wood is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the months and years that the plant was growing. The process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel, its proponents claim.
Businesses that adopt biomass as a heating solution are also eligible for the UK Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (RHI) which offers financial payment for generators of renewable heat.
In the hospitality sector, heating accounts for around 60 per cent of total energy costs. According to the Carbon Trust, the UK hospitality industry’s estimated annual energy bill is around £1.3 billion, with carbon emissions topping 8 million tonnes each year.
Renewable specialist HWEnergy has 19 hotels that are either in the process of adopting biomass, or have already done so.
Its projects include biomass boiler installations at Auchrannie Spa on Arran, the five star Boath House Hotel in Nairnshire, Corrow Farm in Argyll and Roshven House at Loch Ailort.
Combined, HWEnergy expects these establishments to reduce their CO2 emissions by nearly 1000 tonnes per year, whilst generating a RHI income of over £100,000 for the businesses.
Bruno Berardelli, Managing Director at HWEnergy, says the switch to biomass can be entirely self-funding for hotels. “Providers like HWEnergy can also help hotel owners and management fund the projects through Energy Service Company (ESCo) and heat supply financial models. This means that businesses of all sizes can benefit from switching to renewable heating systems like biomass.”
“At HWEnergy we have noticed a dramatic increase in business coming from the hospitality sector. Each project is very different as the new systems have to cater for facilities of varying sizes and functions, from hotel bedrooms and lodges to spas and swimming pools. With energy costs continuing to increase, businesses need to find new ways to reduce running costs. RHI is an excellent way to subsidise heating bills and achieve return on investment,” he adds.