Hotel Case Study
Parkroyal on St Kilda Road
Contact: Caitlin Boyd
Position: Executive Secretary
Ph: (03) 529 8888
Fx: (03) 510 4297
Postal address: PO Box 6533
St Kilda Rd Central
St Kilda 3004
Putting environmental learning into practice
Description of ProjectA four to five star hotel, the Parkroyal on St
Kilda Rd involved the whole of its staff in 1993 in an environmental audit. This
was achieved through their participation in an Environmental Education Strategy,
focusing on identifying, and putting into practice, achievable actions aimed at
reducing the hotel's environmental impact and generating operational savings.
A 220 room hotel, the Parkroyal on St Kilda Rd is part of the Southern
Pacific Hotel Corporation (SPHC), the largest hotel group in Australasia. One of
five SPHC hotels in Melbourne, the Parkroyal on St Kilda Rd is establishing a
profile as the city's 'entertainment hotel' offering packages to, for instance,
Phantom of the Opera or NBL Basketball.
Environmental education has not only led to a comprehensive audit which
identified substantial cost saving, but has also been seen by management to have
led to improved marketing opportunities and better staff morale. "Most people
have a genuine motivation to save the environment," claims Ann-Marie Devine, the
manager of Corporate Environmental Management.
"Education which gives them the tools for action is of vital importance to
the success of projects."
The long term aim is to disseminate Parkroyal's Environmental Education
Strategy throughout the other SPHC hotels in Melbourne, and eventually
Process UndertakenThe Environmental Education Strategy was developed
through a partnership between the Parkroyal on St Kilda Rd and the Victorian
Environment Education Council. Corporate Environmental Management Pty. Ltd. (CEM)
have facilitated the project from its inception, carrying out the initial staff
training sessions using basic environmental education principles.
The focus of the environmental learning is on developing practical actions
which reduce the Parkroyal's environmental impact. Action and learning are seen
as happening together.
Initially, the Environmental Education Strategy Committee met once a week to
discuss ideas raised by staff, and to bring in information from environmental
specialists. A questionnaire and letter were given to 200 of the hotel's regular
guests to spark awareness of what was going on and how they might be involved.
To arouse interest on a wider scale, staff wore badges proclaiming 'Parkroyal on
St Kilda Rd - Caring for the Environment.' Many guests commented favourably.
Initiatives which have been implemented as part of the environmental program
include a comprehensive energy audit carried out by the hotel's Maintenance
Engineer; the introduction of energy efficient light globes; and the
establishment of a comprehensive paper recycling system.
In an effort to go back to basics, CEM gets its clients to examine their
purchasing procedures. CEM "went through the rubbish bins" to identify areas of
waste, said CEM's manager, Ann-Marie Devine. The hotel has since sent a letter
to all its suppliers asking them to produce a list of their environmentally
responsible products for future use by the hotel. Xerox, for instance, responded
positively by offering to supply recycled paper suitable for use by the hotel's
photocopier. Chlorine-free chemicals were found for the hotel's dishwashers.
Negotiations continue with other hotel suppliers.
CEM continues to meet with the Parkroyal Environmental Education Strategy
Committee. The Committee has identified the critical factors for the success of
the project as "the strong support and active participation of staff from all
areas and levels of the hotel and the availability of a facilitator with
appropriate time and expertise to assist the project's planning and
Changes Made and Savings
- As a result of the energy audit, the hotel has applied to change its
electricity tariff, leading to estimated operational savings of $24,000 per
- The back service corridor had a single door, left open all day for ease of
making deliveries. By hanging spring loaded, plastic flap doors, energy savings
of $300 per month were made, and nearby staff work in a more consistently mild
- Changing over a total of 25 light globes in public parts of the hotel from
100 watt light globes to 13 watt energy-efficient globes led to a cost saving of
$2,166 per year.
- Installation of water efficient roses has halved water consumption from 26
litres of water per minute to 13 litres of water per minute. Reduced flow has
the added benefit of also reducing the energy required to heat the hot water.
One of the hotel's three boilers is planned to be shut down.
- Instead of automatically washing guests' towels daily, the hotel gives
guests the choice of retaining their towels by hanging them on the rack, or
indicating they want a fresh towel by putting their used one in the bath.
Approximately 10% of guests have taken up the hotel's suggestion to have their
towels washed less frequently, many commenting favourably on the initiative on
guest comment cards.
- As in any kitchen, chemicals are widely used for cleaning. The Parkroyal and
other SPHC hotels have negotiated with a major chemical supplier to introduce a
new chlorine-free range atnd a system which reduces chemical dependency. Cost
- Kitchen staff training on improved environmental practices is seen as
essential; for instance in regularly turning off gas burners when they are not
- Separate bins for the recycling of kitchen glass, paper, plastic have been
Bar, bistro and dining room
- Separate bins for recycling of glass, paper, plastic have been installed.
- The glass washer is only used when it is full, a great energy saver.
- Recycled paper is used for letterhead, conference pads and the photocopier,
saving over $2,000 p.a.
Costs and PaybackComprehensive monitoring of the environmental program
is yet to be implemented on a planned basis. Changes in management as a result
of the constant movement of staff within the hotelindustry make continuity a
It is hoped to resolve this problem in the upcoming restructuring of the
No figures on total costs and total savings made per annum are available.
However, an estimate of average cost savings per year as result of environmental
initiatives is contained in a 1994 study, Hotels and the Environment, prepared
for the Accommodation Division of the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels
Association. Thirteen Sydney hotels were involved in the study.
Making only these five simple changes, a 250 room hotel would save over
$57,000 a year.
EmploymentCEM undertook the Environmental Education Strategy over a
five week period.
After this, monitoring and implementation of the environment program was
overseen on a voluntary basis by the hotel's financial controller. It was his
personal enthusiasm which drove much of the program. With his recent departure
to another hotel in the SPHC chain, much of the corporate memory about the
environmental program has gone along with him.
CEM has been called back to help the Environment Committee extend its role
from environmental training to playing a bigger part in overseeing the program,
including monitoring. According to the study by the NSW branch of the Australian
Hotels Association, most hotels have generally run their environmental programs
on a voluntary basis.
ParticipationA questionnaire distributed to the Parkroyal on St Kilda
Rd employees found that 94% of staff respondents felt that environmental issues
were important in the workplace. All new staff receive basic training in
In a report funded by the Victorian Environment Education Council, the
Parkroyal claims that: "Being part of a team effort to find and implement
effective environmental measures is seen as a powerful learning experience for
Environmental Education Strategy Committee activities were reported as
important "in developing motivation, environmental knowledge, teamwork and
problem-solving skills." The Strategy is regarded as dynamic and ongoing. It
will be updated as new ideas are developed through the Environmental Education
A 'Green Corner' has been suggested for the Parkroyal's staff magazine,
highlighting and making staff aware of new environmental initiatives.
Further PlansThe audit identified a number of larger items which were
dependent on refurbishment or future conversion when equipment became due for
replacement. The study by the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association
has found that most hotel owners are reluctant to outlay capital on
environmental conversions until it is time to refurbish. In five star hotels,
this generally occurs every five years and slightly less often in four star
The Environmental Education Strategy Committee has made recommendations to
carry out the following at a future date:
- Conversion of the hotel's three courtesy cars to LPG at the time they are
replaced with new cars;
- Installation of key tag switches in all hotel rooms, thus allowing guests to
turn off their room air conditioning and all electrical appliances when they
vacate their rooms. Recomended as part of the hotel's next major refurbishment;
- Use water-based paints wherever possible as they release less dioxins than
Some recommendations have proven difficult to implement or have been
outweighed by other considerations:
- The front door was identified as an area of significant energy loss.
Installation of a sliding door cost was costed @ $7,790, which at an estimated
saving of $600 per month in energy costs would have an estimated payback of just
over 12 months. Hotel management has, however, put this item on hold for
asethetic reasons. A sliding door is considered unsightly.
- Waste grease and cooking oils are collected in grease traps and disposed @
cost of $6,000 per year. The Committee found a totally natural, citrus solvent
for dissolving the greases and flushing through the sewerage system, rather than
being dumped in landfills in a solid state. Cost of the solvent would be only
$675 p.a. The Health Department is still considering whether or not to approve
use of the new solvent.
- For the recycling of the large quantities of food scraps, the hotel is
looking at composting, using worms to break down organic waste, with their
talings sold as fertiliser. Negotiations were being held with South Melbourne
Council. These are on hold since South Melbourne's absorption into the new City
of Port Phillip as a result of municipal amalgamations.
For more information, contact:
ACF / ACTU Green Jobs Unit
340 Gore Street
Ph: (03) 416 0355
Fx: (03) 416 0767
Cornell Center for The Environment