/ ©: WWF-SPPO
Greening the tourism industry
WWF South Pacific has recently initiated an exciting new pilot programme in Fiji, working with the tourism sector to identify simple solutions to increase energy efficiency in hotels and resorts; cut carbon emissions; save the industry money; and reduce impacts on the environment.

Energy efficiency could save Fiji’s tourism sector thousands

 Hotels and resort operators in Fiji could potentially save thousands of dollars per year in energy costs while cutting energy consumption by an average 21% and reducing carbon emissions through simple energy efficiency measures.

A study conducted by Australian consultancy Cool nrg on behalf of WWF, identified that the annual electricity bill saving for an average hotel of 150 guest rooms would be in the order of FJD 185,000 or just over USD 100,000.

WWF’s Tourism Energy Efficiency Investment Programme (TEEIP) for the Pacific was launched early in 2011 with funding support from WWF-Switzerland and the WWF-Coral Triangle Programme.

The objective of TEEIP is to overcome the barriers to Fiji hotels and resorts investing in energy saving infrastructure. The programme so far has focused on retrofits and leveraging the generation and trading of carbon credits, which could potentially be a source of funds for climate change adaptation projects around the coastal areas of Fiji.

Benefitting buisiness, the environment and community

The programme is being developed by WWF in collaboration with tourism building owners and occupiers across Fiji, and builds on the low carbon tourism initiative between the Fiji Government and the Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association. It is expected to produce triple bottom line benefits for the businesses, the environment and local communities.

According to Project Coordinator, Monica Patel, “The tourism sector across Asia and the Pacific needs to ensure that energy infrastructure uses the best clean and efficient technologies and services to avoid being locked into high carbon emitting technology that will last for several decades, creating a significant ecological footprint on the environment”.

As part of the feasibility study, WWF collected energy usage data from 24 hotels and resorts and found that the potential savings were estimated to be between 2,500-5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by replacing high carbon emitting technologies with energy efficient technologies for lighting, chillers and air conditioning equipment.

While the potential revenues from trading in the carbon credits was estimated at a modest $35,000 USD per year, this figure is likely to increase with higher numbers of hotels, resorts and even commercial buildings being included in the programme.

Responses to the feasibility report from industry and the Fiji Government has been positive with a strong message for WWF that the industry wants to reduce the amount being spent on energy for its hotels and resorts and to improve their environmental performance.

Strides ahead

Already a number of Fiji hotel operators are undertaking significant energy efficiency measures and using renewable energy sources to reduce reliance on diesel fuel. However, they are keen to consider additional measures and to explore the carbon credit trading option.

The Department of Energy is also eager to see the programme develop and sees it fitting into the Government’s Low Carbon Tourism Programme to ensure Energy Security, a goal of the National Strategic Plan.

WWF will also work with government and industry to encourage effective policies and frameworks to encourage uptake of energy efficiency measures across the tourism industry and other business sectors.

The World Bank on energy efficiency and climate change

the annual electricity bill saving for an average hotel of 150 guest rooms would be in the order of FJD 185,000 or just over USD 100,000

The tourism sector across Asia and the Pacific needs to ensure that energy infrastructure uses the best clean and efficient technologies and services to avoid being locked into high carbon emitting technology that will last for several decades, creating a significant ecological footprint on the environment

Monica Patel, Project Coordinator