UNWTO LAUNCHES GREEN E-TOOLKIT TO
HELP LOWER HOTEL ENERGY CONSUMPTION
The nearly-Zero Energy Hotels (neZEH) e-toolkit, which is available online at: www.nezeh.eu assesses the energy performance of hotels and proposes measures to improve efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy sources towards nearly-zero consumption. The toolkit is the outcome of a three-year long project funded by the European Union.
The neZEH e-toolkit evaluates the energy performance of hotels through a questionnaire and identifies options for energy efficiency, including efficient use of non-renewable sources, while raising awareness on the topic through inspiring examples.
The project aims to support hotels in Europe to comply with nearly-Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) regulations, which all EU Member States are required to meet by 2020. An nZEB-level building must demonstrate high levels of energy performance. The nearly-zero, or very low, amount of energy required should be generated to a very significant extent by renewable energy sources, including those produced onsite or nearby.
As stated by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, ‘this unprecedented initiative shows not only the concerns, but also the high level of commitment, of the tourism sector in addressing one of the worldwide preoccupations: climate change‘.
Sixteen hotels across seven European countries (Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain and Sweden) participated in the project as pilot European neZEH Hotels. These are to become inspiring examples to the European hotel industry of how to implement best practices to achieve nearly zero energy level performance.
Preceding the launch of the e-toolkit, the policy implications of a zero-energy tourism sector in Europe were debated at the European Parliament on 17th of March this year. The event, addressed at regional, national and European policy makers, stressed the need to reduce legislative barriers and introduce supporting measures to promote zero energy growth and ensure the sustainability and competitiveness of tourism in the EU.
The neZEH project is co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme. It aims to accelerate the rate of large-scale renovations of hotels into nearly-Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) by providing technical advice to hoteliers and demonstrating flagship nZEB projects in the European hospitality sector.
The neZEH partnership includes ten partners across seven European countries: the Technical University of Crete-Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems Lab (Greece), the coordinating partner for the project, along with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Network of European Region for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism (NECSTouR), Sustainable Innovation (Sweden), Creara Consultores S.L. (Spain), the Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar (Croatia), the Istituto Superiore sui Sistemi Territoriali per l’Innovazione (Italy), the Agency of Braşov for Energy Management and Environment Protection (Romania), the Federation of European Heating and Air-conditioning Associations (Netherlands), and ENERGIES 2050 (France).
It is expected that the findings and recommendations will be broadly embraced around the world, especially in Africa where the use of renewable energy is fast gaining ground.