Study ranks US hotel chains by energy efficiency

Sustainability technology company Brighter Planet recently released a study of 46,000 U.S. hotels from 75 chains that measured each for energy efficiency. 

The report showed no significant correlation between hotel price and carbon footprint. While budget hotels overall had higher efficiency than midscale or upscale lodging, the study showed a greater variation among hotels in the same class than among the three categories.

The purpose of the study is to provide travelers with information to choose a hotel that minimizes the carbon impact of their stay. With 40% of Global 500 companies now publicly report employee travel footprints, travel carbon reporting is becoming increasingly important for businesses. As that trend continues, carbon efficiency is becoming a priority when choosing lodging.

“Treating all hotels as equal incorrectly suggests that the only way to reduce lodging impacts is to reduce travel,” said Patti Prairie, Brighter Planet CEO. “But that obscures the opportunities to lower your energy footprint and make big sustainability gains with smarter travel choices.”

The study found that top 10 most efficient chains in the US were:

  1. Vagabond Inns
  2. Red Lion Hotels and Inns
  3. Red Carpet Inns
  4. Travelodge
  5. Scottish Inns
  6. America’s Best Inns and Suites
  7. Shilo Inns and Resorts
  8. Knights Inn
  9. Howard Johnson
  10. Rodeway Inn

Among other findings are that hotels are becoming less efficient, with newer hotels using more energy, and dirtier energy, than older counterparts — the study points out that programs like LEED and Energy Star could potentially reverse this trend.