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Whitbread cuts carbon through refurbishment

Premier Inn owner Whitbread is ramping up its green credentials with a number of energy saving measures in its new builds and refurbishment projects.

Whitbread is aiming to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 26 per cent by 2020.

The group is installing voltage optimisation units in all its sites, which are installed in series with the mains electricity and cap the amount of volts used for the site’s equipment
to 230 volts.

Trials of heat recovery units and air conditioning controls are being carried out. Meters for water and energy usage are also being fitted at all hotels to monitor how energy can be saved across the group’s 42,000 hotel rooms.

Work has started on the The Burgess Hill Premier Inn in West Sussex, which is due to open in the autumn. The 60-bedroom hotel will adopt green technologies trialled in Whitbread’s “green hotel” pilot in Tamworth, Staffordshire, to deliver 70 per cent carbon and 60 per cent water savings.

The development will include ground-source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting and grey water
recycling, high-efficiency thermal insulation, low-flow showerheads and automated light controls.

Contractor Speymills was chosen for the job because of its willingness to embrace the sustainable building methods required.

Speymills has now started on site and will be using timber frame construction methods from
sustainably sourced wood.

Group construction director Alex Flach said: “None of our contractors are really experienced at building sustainable buildings so it was about judging their willingness to open their minds on this. We are going to have to start putting all these sustainability measures into all our new builds and existing hotels.”

Over the past year Whitbread has spent £23 million refurbishing 10,000 Premier Inn rooms, with £1.25m spent on sustainable initiatives.

About £17m was spent on refurbishing about 130 restaurants, with £2m spent on sustainability measures, while £40m was spent on maintaining the Whitbread Estate, with £2m on energy savings.