When better buildings get even better

Hilton Worldwide and Whole Foods Market SWAP energy management teams and discover new savings opportunities for better buildings.

What do grocery stores and hotels have in common? As the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) revealed during the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP, in partnership with Whole Foods Market and Hilton Worldwide, they can both implement many of the same best practices to improve energy efficiency in their facilities.

Essentially, during the challenge, Whole Foods and Hilton swapped energy management teams at their San Francisco locations to uncover new energy savings opportunities. To share the insight with the public, DOE filmed the walk-throughs and findings, and released key footage in a reality-style three-part mini-series.

Show Opener | Grocery Store Energy Management | Hilton visits Whole Foods

The episodes not only shy away from any stereotypical reality-TV drama, they also provide encouragement for the real estate industry by proving in an entertaining and insightful way that energy-conscious buildings often still have room to continuously improve. Hilton was the first hotel corporation to have many of its locations “certified to the DOE’s Superior Energy Performance® (SEP™).” Taking this certification to the next level, Hilton implemented additional energy efficiency actions identified by the Whole Foods team during the swap: “LED lighting upgrades, door gasket replacements, and the phase-out of less efficient appliances with refrigerated containers.” Who knew the freezers that keep our favorite gelato cold and creamy also play a vital role in lowering baseload?

A hotel’s purpose is first and foremost to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for its guests. Some operators might think this goal creates a dilemma of choosing between either luxurious comfort or reducing energy; however, the SWAP dispels that myth by proving that hotels can make meaningful changes to save energy while maintaining an excellent standard for guest satisfaction. Of course, to hotels in the front of the pack — including many that use Gridum tools — this news will come as no surprise. We and our customers at InterContinental San Francisco and Fairmont San Francisco have found that energy management can help hotels run more efficiently without requiring any sacrifice in experience. Indeed, JD Power and Associates found satisfaction tends to be higher when guests are aware of a hotel’s efficiency program.

Tristam Coffin, Director of Sustainability and Facilities at Whole Foods Market, put it well when he concluded that “it’s easy to think you’ve covered all the bases in your own facility, [but] there is so much more to gain when you compare strategies and lessons learned with a team from a completely different line of work.” Clearly, the SWAP illuminated how much we all stand to gain by sharing our energy best practices.

About Holly Wilson

Holly is a Business Development Representative at Gridium, based in San Francisco. Previously, Holly was a junior consultant at Meister Consultants Group in Boston, focusing on international and domestic solar polices, local clean energy solutions, and corporate sustainability. Holly holds a B.A. in International Relations with a Minor in German from Tufts University. A Bay Area native, Holly loves traveling and is always up to visit new countries.

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