Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
November 27, 2002
Student develops money-saving energy awareness program
Hydro rates may be soaring across Ontario, but one Vancouver-based hotel chain may save almost $50,000 in annual electricity and gas costs thanks to a University of Guelph co-op student.
Jeff Hyslop developed an energy awareness program while working for Coast Hotels and Resorts. The hotel chain says implementing the undergraduate student’s program, which involved motivating employees to reduce energy use, could trim electricity bills by about $30,000 a year and gas costs by another $16,000 at the 22 properties it owns in British Columbia and Alberta.
Hyslop, a third-year student in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, believes his back-to-basics plan for saving energy costs might serve as a model for other hoteliers in an industry that he says has some catching up to do in efficient energy use and conservation. That’s no small matter, he said, pointing to recent newspaper headlines about power prices in newly deregulated Ontario and the energy-reduction requirements of the Kyoto Protocol.
He developed the CoastSaver program earlier this year during a co-op placement that began in spring 2001. Using resources available on B.C. Hydro’s Web site, he collected information on energy technologies and energy-saving tips into a binder for use by teams at each of the company’s properties. His work has attracted attention beyond the hotel chain, including an invitation from B.C. Hydro this summer to take part in a panel discussion on energy efficiency. Hyslop was the sole student on the panel; the other members were senior executives from various companies. “It was a bit intimidating, but I feel so passionate about my topic that I think I made a good impression,” he said.
Besides the CoastSaver program, Hyslop developed a reporting system for hotels in the chain to compare their energy use and costs. He also worked on a climate change report that involved energy audits and emission levels at the firm’s properties.
Hyslop, who is president of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Students’ Association, said he tries to practice energy conservation at home, including buying an energy-efficient refrigerator, installing compact fluorescent bulbs and placing a timer on the outdoor lights at the house he rents to fellow students. But he has his eye on bigger projects.
He is interested in helping more companies implement this kind of energy awareness project, ideally as a consulting energy manager for hotels and restaurants. “Having an energy manager will be the way of the future for a lot of big companies. I hope so, because that’s what I want to get into.”
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