When compared to the total number of lodging establishments in the United States (around 50,000 properties), there are very few that rely on solar, wind, geothermal or any other kind of renewable energy to meet even a portion of their power needs. Increasingly, however, hotel developers are adding solar hot water heating systems to their rooftops to reduce reliance on natural gas or electricity. Some are adding solar panels to generate electricity, while only a handful have tried wind turbines.
In the future, expect renewables to be much more common. As reported in "The Monthly Energy Review," U.S. renewable energy production increased 8 percent in the first 10 months of 2008 when compared to the same time period in 2007. Moreover, renewable energy accounted for 10.04 percent of domestic energy production during the first ten months of 2008. By comparison, renewable energy accounted for 9.58 percent of domestic energy production in 2007. Which renewables experienced the most growth from 2007 to 2008? In trillion Btus, wind production increased 38.3 percent, solar by 2.9 percent, and hydropower by 5.6 percent.
What is stopping the lodging industry from investing in renewables more? I believe there are several reasons: cost, or the perception of cost; lack of experience or knowledge in implementing such systems; and an absence of leadership at the top of organizations driving renewable energy initiatives.
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