As part of the launch of the Energy Smart Building Labelling Programme, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) and Energy Sustainability Unit (ESU) - an entity jointly supported by the School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore (NUS) and various Research Partners - awarded The Regent Singapore, a Four Seasons Hotel, the country's inaugural Energy Smart Hotel Award on Friday 3 August 2007. This award accords recognition to buildings (and now includes hotels) in the top 25% of their class for achieving exemplary energy efficiency without compromising the indoor environmental quality.
Since the energy-efficiency label was launched in December 2005, The Regent Singapore has undergone rigorous testing and followed through on the recommendations of an accredited evaluation to meet the standards of the label. This has included the introduction of a Heat Recovery System - which involved disabling pre-existing boilers totally and replacing them with a unit that uses a small capacity chiller of 60RT (a unit of heat exchange) and six small tanks to produce the requisite hot water to the entire hotel while recycling the chilled water into the existing chiller piping to support the hotel's air-conditioning. The energy saving is enormous. The heat recovery system requires no diesel consumption and one system supports both heating and chilling requirements of the hotel.
Further energy saving standards set by The Regent Singapore include the replacement of all existing lighting with energy efficient bulbs and ballasts. The indoor environment quality parameters have been considered and where areas were previously not within the standard range, action was taken to ensure acceptable standards were achieved. Recycling has been an ongoing initiative at The Regent, and apart from recycling paper and plastics, Regent is now recognised as a leader in Singapore for organic waste recycling. Unused foods from the hotel are specially composted and reused within Singapore. The lessening of the impact on the environment with this system is that it also reduces the hotel's waste haulage by half.
Four Seasons Hotels, Ltd. has long been committed to operating the world's leading luxury hotel company in an environmentally friendly manner. In accordance with this internal commitment, The Regent Singapore, A Four Seasons Hotel, established the current environmental committee in 2004. One of the objectives of this committee has been to reduce the amount of energy used in the hotel by 5% each year without sacrificing the Hotel's operational standards or safety. Since its implementation, the objective has been achieved.
The world's environmental challenges are enormous, and in the face of a global problem, it is all too easy to be overwhelmed. In addition to asking "What difference can one person make?" the staff at The Regent collaborated and understood that a team of 400 working collectively makes a significant difference. Anthropologist Margaret Mead was quoted as saying, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
The Energy Smart Hotel label serves the purpose of bringing the prospering hospitality industry in line with Singapore's "green" strategies. It is also an effort to stretch an energy efficiency initiative, which has already achieved some success, to a broader scope. This includes updating the building industry, hotel general managers and owners, engineers, and executive hotel staff on the trends of energy conservation efforts and energy usage in commercial buildings with a special focus on hotels. The label also works to share best practices of accredited ESCOs (Energy Services Company) on energy conservation and energy auditing.
The mission of the ESU is "to advance energy sustainable development in Singapore and the tropics by establishing a knowledge base for fostering healthy, productive and sustainable environmental practices and research." By improving energy efficiency, hotels (and commercial buildings) will assist in making the world's energy system more economically and environmentally sustainable. Potential improvements in energy efficiency exist in all economies and all sectors - homes, offices, schools, hospitals, factories, transportation systems and power plants; so why not hotels.