Seeing Green: Energy Efficient Improvements Can Help Your Hotel’s Bottom Line


Western Alliance

June 16, 2016

Green building projects are gaining popularity and becoming increasingly important for commercial properties of all kinds. For hotels, many of which have long given guests the option to eschew daily towel changes to support the environment, sustainable building practices are quickly becoming the standard. Not only does this fit with guests’ values, but it can also save money on operations.

According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), hotels in the United States collectively spend close to $4 billion in annual energy costs. Upgrading facilities, appliances, incorporating new sources of energy and changing hotel processes can be great for the environment and also good for your bottom line. 

Interestingly, guests can now check websites like Trip Advisor for a hotel’s environmental impact. And, according to Energy Star, “a 10% reduction in hotel energy costs is equivalent to increasing revenue per available room night by more than $2 for full-service hotels.” So it only makes sense that reducing your hotel’s carbon footprint could be on your investment to-do list.

For instance, the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore recently invested $9.4 million in energy-efficiency projects such as syncing the hotel’s booking system to the hotel’s HVAC system. The HVAC systems of meeting rooms, conferences and event spaces automatically turn on one hour before the event and off one hour after the event. Marina Bay also invested in LED lights, occupancy sensors and upgraded pressure and temperature sensors. Since beginning this investment in 2012, the hotel has netted an 11% decrease in energy costs.

Many commercial projects also seek LEED® certification from the USGBC to increase patron favorability and grow property value. This is often achieved by steps such as:

  • Using sustainable building materials

  • Selecting Energy Star appliances

  • Building in recycling/composting/waste management options on site

  • Using low-flow plumbing fixtures

  • Installing a green roof or open grid pavement

Projects to improve energy efficiency at your hotel properties typically require a capital investment. Working with a banker who is familiar with the hospitality industry and sustainability upgrades can be a valuable resource. It’s also important that the bank you’re working with understands the seasonality of your business to help you coordinate financing options in line with your revenue stream.

A knowledgeable banker who is experienced in the hospitality industry can help you choose from the wide range of lending and credit solutions for your project. For example, equipment can be leased to have a lower monthly cost, or be purchased with a loan and wholly owned by your company once the loan is paid off. It’s possible to use your land, equipment, inventory and even accounts receivable as collateral for a secured business loan.

Upgrading physical assets can be considered an investment, potentially qualifying you for Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) lending – the bank will help you assess whether your proposed changes will significantly appreciate your property value. Another option, a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, allows for a smaller down payment and can have attractive terms for the borrower. In some cases, down payments on SBA loans can be as low as 10% and have a repayment period on equipment of up to 10 years.

Learn more about how a customer-focused Western Alliance banker who specializes in the hospitality industry can help you finance green upgrades that also can benefit your bottom line.

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Western Alliance Bank

With more than $70 billion in assets, Western Alliance Bancorporation is one of the country’s top-performing banking companies. Its primary subsidiary, Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, offers a full spectrum of tailored commercial banking solutions and consumer products, all delivered with outstanding service by banking and mortgage experts who put customers first. Major accolades include being ranked as a top U.S. bank in 2023 by American Banker and Bank Director and receiving #1 rankings on Institutional Investor's All-America Executive Team Midcap 2023-2024 for Best CEO, Best CFO, Best Company Board of Directors and Best Investor Relations Team. Serving clients across the country wherever business happens, Western Alliance Bank operates individual, full-service banking and financial brands with offices in key markets nationwide.