Our buildings

Our target for our hotels? Zero %!

A building.

Zero carbon, zero waste… as well as increasingly controlled water consumption, notably through recycling. This is the target Accor has set for its buildings. Today, we make this commitment for all the hotels that we own, i.e. about 30% of our portfolio. This is just the beginning. We will not stop there.

  • 100% 100%
    of hotels are low-carbon buildings
  • -5% -5%
    of energy consumption per room
  • -5% -5%
    of water consumption per night
  • 65% 65%
    of waste from hotel operations is recovered
  • Climate change concerns the hotel sector for two reasons:

    • First, the rise in the average global temperature threatens many tourist regions.
      It leads to water scarcity and the risk of coastal submergence.
    • Second, CO2 emissions, the primary cause of global warming, are one of the main environmental impacts from hotels.

    In December 2015, in Paris, the 195 States taking part in the 21st United Nations Climate Conference (COP 21) adopted an agreement limiting global warming to under 2°C between now and 2100.
    To meet this objective there must be a vast reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, which are mostly caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.

    For this reason, we are starting to move our hotel portfolio towards carbon-neutral buildings.
    We have 5,300 Accor brand hotels worldwide and most are owned by third parties under management or franchise contracts.
    Inevitably therefore, the shift will be a gradual process.

    Energy and carbon are key areas which our Group can lever to lower its environmental impacts.
    The hotels are directly concerned. They account for 84% of our global consumption of non-renewable energies.
    The fossil fuels and electricity they consume account for 77% of our CO2 emissions.

    Energy consumption not only produces CO2, it also has an impact on biodiversity and water. It is therefore particularly important to curb it.

    What we are doing already

    Deploy our energy to save more energy.

    We open two new hotels every three days worldwide, on average. We also renovate several hundred, every year.
    We have a long history of commitment to transition towards low-consumption buildings as far as our construction and large-scale refurbishment projects are concerned.

    The benefits are two-fold, since reducing a hotel’s energy consumption reduces both its carbon emissions and its costs.

    Nowadays, building envelopes are always designed to offer the best possible insulation. In addition, we prefer the most energy efficient technologies:

    • high-yield boilers;
    • LED lighting, etc.

    A growing number of our hotels use renewable, and therefore low-carbon energies.

    Proof of this effort…
    In 2011, we had set ourselves the objective of certifying 21 new hotels in order to guarantee their environmental performance and, most importantly, their energy efficiency.

    We have fulfilled this objective. By the end of 2015, 21 hotels, most of which are located in Germany, the United Kingdom and France, had obtained or were in the process of obtaining LEED, BREEAM, HQE or DGNB certification.
    Better still, since 1st January 2015, all the new hotels built by the Group must be certified.

    Another illustration

    Over the last five years, one of our objectives has been to give a boost to renewable energies.

    The Novotel Lausanne Bussigny (Switzerland)

    The hotel was entirely refurbished and enlarged in 2006-2007. Improving its energy performance was a top priority:

    • its façade was insulated,
    • it was given a grass-covered roof for better thermal insulation,
    • it recovers lost heat (for example, from the cold storage) and uses it to produce hot water.

    This heat recovery allows it to meet 70% of its hot water requirements in the summer and 20% in the winter.


    The Sydney Olympic Park complex embraces solar energy

    The Pullman Sydney Olympic Park innovated with solar thermal collectors, a highly efficient water heating technology.
    The Novotel-ibis Sydney Olympic Park combo has:

    • close to 140 solar panels to heat water;
    • 300 photovoltaic panels to generate electricity.

    Sofitel The Palm Dubai

    Located in the Palm Jumeirah archipelago in Dubai, opened in 2013 and boasts an energy-efficient design which includes:

    • tiled roofing (an insulating material that also reflects the sun’s rays),
    • double glazing,
    • energy-efficient air-conditioning,
    • a heat recovery system,
    • presence sensors for corridor lighting,
    • 530m2 of solar panels which cover 45% of its hot water requirements.

    It was the first hotel on the Palm Jumeirah and the first Sofitel in the Middle East North Africa region to receive Green Globe certification.


    The Novotel Munich Arnulfpark

    Opened in September 2015, The Novotel Munich Arnulfpark obtained German DGNB certification for its energy performance. Other energy saving features include:
    • double glazing,
    • 100% LED lighting,
    • a heat recovery system,
    • access to a district heating system (which is more energy and carbon-efficient than a dedicated boiler),
    • 163m2 of solar panels which produce about 20,000 kWh a year.

    What we plan over the next five years

    Break with the past, to guarantee the future.

    The urgency of today’s climate situation demands a move towards buildings that are not only low-consumption, but also low-carbon. This calls for several breaks.

    First, innovate with construction materials.
    The manufacture of the construction materials we use must be as low-carbon as possible and they must be recyclable at end-of-life. Wood, for example, is a particularly virtuous material. It absorbs CO2 when it grows, stores it throughout its life and can be recycled. We are looking into the possibility of using wood for a new hotel design built by the Group.

    Then, innovate with energy technologies.
    As well as cutting our consumption, we must accelerate the transition towards renewable energies and develop:

    • the purchase of green electricity,
    • and above all, renewable energy generation in our hotels.

    The key to being agile and paving the way for these green energies is to form partnerships with technological innovation players.
    Our objectives are:

    • to access the most efficient solutions;
    • to test them in our hotels over one or two-year periods in order to ensure their relevance and value in our business;
    • then roll them out if they meet our expectations.

    From 2016, we tested wind power, new photovoltaic technologies, fuel cells, and batteries designed to store electricity inside a building.

    Move towards intelligent buildings.
    In the future, our hotels will also be equipped with an intelligent control system, which will:

    • regulate energy consumption to a minimum: for example, by stopping heating or air-conditioning for a few hours, without affecting our guests’ comfort.
    • prefer energy sources with the lowest carbon intensity.

    In off-peak hours, electricity generated by wind power or photovoltaic panels that exceeds the hotel’s needs, will, for example, be automatically stored in batteries so the hotel can then use it during peak hours, instead of buying from the grid.

    Last, participate in the creation of a low-carbon building certification.

    Current environmental certifications concern a building’s energy performance, but not its carbon emissions. The Association pour le Développement du Bâtiment Bas Carbone (Association for the Development of the Low-Carbon Building), of which Accor is a founding member, intends to change the game. It is developing a low-carbon building label (BBCA), which will account for a building’s CO2 emissions throughout its lifecycle:

    • construction;
    • operation;
    • end-of-life (demolition and recycling).

    We are working with this association to draw up the certification reference document for hotels. Our objective is to gradually implement it for all our new or renovated hotels.

    When the future of construction takes to the oceans

    In order to access the energy technologies of the future, we have formed two partnerships with:

    • Energy Observer
    • CEA Tech, the technological research unit of CEA, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

    Energy Observer is a scheme which aims to transform a catamaran into a laboratory for the carbon-free energies of the future.
    The vessel is powered by electric engines and will used a highly innovative energy production chain to cover its needs.
    It will couple:

    • fuel cells powered by hydrogen produced using seawater electrolysis,
    • with wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and hydro generators,
    • and on-board energy storage systems: latest generation batteries and hydrogen tanks.

    This project launched by two sailors, is based on CEA Tech know-how. We tested with CEA Tech to experiment the catamaran’s technologies in our hotels from 2016. Every month, in addition to our partnership with Energy Observer and CEA Tech, we also meet start-ups and innovation players. Our objective is to keep track of new technologies and test those that interest us in our hotels. 

    After a French Tour in 2017, Energy Observer resumed its Odyssey for the Future with its Europe & Asia Tour.

  • Our 5,300 hotels produce about 220,000 metric tons waste a year, including food, waste, paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, etc.

    We are working to reduce this waste at the source.
    For example, by:

    • combatting food waste;
    • by sourcing from suppliers who minimize packaging.

    We also intend to maximize the recovery of the remaining waste by reusing it, and recycling by material, and also by composting or producing biogas from our organic waste.

    The objective?

    • Send only residual waste to landfill to avoid soil, groundwater and surface water pollution.
    • Minimize waste incineration, even with energy recovery, to avoid air pollution emissions.
    • Contribute to the development of the circular economy by giving our products a second life, and thus combat the growing scarcity of natural resources and also reduce our energy and carbon footprint.

    Manufacturing recycled materials is much more energy and carbon-efficient than standard raw material production, and the recovery of end-of-life products is even more virtuous!

    Average waste amounts by hotel category

     90 t

    metric tons a year in a luxury and upscale hotel

    60 t

    metric tons in a midscale hotel

    30 t

    metric tons in an economy hotel

    25 t

    metric tons in a budget hotel

    What we are doing already

    More than 12kg of leftover soaps

    This is the average amount collected every year by the hotels committed to Soap for Hope. This NGO recycles the soaps and gives them to people in vulnerable situations. Many of our hotels already take part in this initiative in Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. Our aim is to deploy it on a wider scale.

    150 to 200 kg of food waste a year

    This is the amount of food waste required to feed one hen. In Switzerland, the Novotel Geneva Airport keeps five hens in its garden, which allows it to minimize its food waste.

    What we plan over the next five years

    What measures can we implement so that 65% of the waste from hotel operations is recovered ?

    First, we will introduce a tool that will allow us to monitor very precisely the amount of waste produced and ensure the traceability of the waste treatment.
    Then, we will identify the most appropriate recovery options. This is an enormous task.
    We have 5,300 hotels in over 110 countries, and each of them produces small amounts of different waste categories. Since this waste can only be recovered locally, we will look for solutions, country by country, and city by city.

    Our priorities include:

    • expanding the direct reuse of end-of-life products, for example, glass containers, large cardboard packaging, computers, furniture, etc.
    • standardizing the recycling of food waste, which accounts for more than half of waste from hotel operations.
    • consistently sorting and recycling packaging.

    A world tour to boost the circular economy

    In 2015, we supported Circul’R, a non-profit launched by two young entrepreneurs.
    Their project involves spending 17 months travelling to 22 countries to find out more about 100 initiatives based on the circular economy, with the aim of promoting and sharing the good practices.
    Their assignment for our Group is to identify players in the circular economy who can offer recovery solutions for our waste and connect them with our hotels.

    100% of hazardous waste treated

    Hazardous waste only represents 3% of the waste from our hotel operations.
    It consists mostly of batteries, printer cartridges and compact fluorescent bulbs.
    However, these are polluting products which can be harmful to people’s health. Most of them are already sorted and treated in suitable waste treatment facilities, were the contaminants are removed.
    However, in some countries, notably in Africa, appropriate waste treatment facilities are still not available.
    Our objective is to find solutions everywhere we operate.

  • Our environmental performance ambitions do not only concern new and renovated buildings; they concern the entire existing portfolio.

    Neither do they only concern carbon emissions from fossil energies used in our hotels. They also concern our water consumption, which is another of the main areas where we can make progress.

    Like energy, water is an environmental issue:

    • drinking and hot water production, and wastewater treatment are all carbon-emitting activities.
    • What is more, some world regions face problems or risks related to water stress, i.e. when demand for water exceeds the available amount.

    We have mapped the level of exposure to water stress of our hotels. About a quarter of them are located in areas of “high” or even “very high” water stress, or in drylands.
    We must therefore curb our water consumption in all countries, but especially in water stressed zones.

    Like energy, water is also an economic issue.
    By consuming less water, our hotels reduce their costs.

    Even though it is one of the key areas in which progress can be made, direct hotel consumption (showers, toilets, swimming pools, gardening, etc.) only represents a small share of our water footprint. The two main contributors to our water footprint are indirect consumptions :

    • the water used to produce the food and beverages served in our hotels.
    • the water used by the power stations which generate the energy purchased by our hotels. By curbing our energy consumption and developing renewable energies, we will also reduce this contribution to our water footprint.

    30 million cubic meters (1) a year, or the consumption of a European city with 410,000 inhabitants.

    (1) Net consumption, i.e. water drawn, less water returned to the environment. 

    Most of the hotels in water-stressed regions are located in Europe (especially in Spain and Italy) and Asia. However, there are also many in Australia, the Middle-East and the Maghreb. The Group must focus its efforts on China, in particular. Average water consumption per overnight stay in China is close to 800 liters, compared with 200 liters in other water stressed regions.


    What we are doing already

    Significant progress

    - 6,2%: the reduction in our hotels’ CO2 emissions per room between 2011 and 2015 (1), is mostly due to the improvement in our energy performance: energy consumption per room decreased by 5.5% between 2006 and 2011, and then again by 5.3% between 2011 and 2015 (2).
    - 8,4%: the decrease in our water consumption between 2011 and 2015 is even more significant, especially as it comes on top of the 12% reduction already achieved between 2011 à 2015 (3).

    As a result of several initiatives:

    • the introduction in 2005 of an online tool (OPEN) to monitor monthly (and even daily) hotel water and energy consumption. In 2016, this tool evolves (GAÏA) to operate as a hub for all sustainable development issues, but also for technical services.
    • the installation in the hotels of building management systems to monitor their energy consumption.
    • an increasing number of energy-saving measures, including:
      - low-consumption lighting,
      - heat recovery from ventilation systems,
      - hot and cold fluid pipe insulation,
      - water-saving devices,
      - dual-flush toilets
    • raising our employees’ and guests’ awareness of the need for judicious consumption of water and energy.


    Hotels in water stressed zones are increasingly water-efficient.

    Between 2011 and 2015, our hotels located in areas of “high” water stress or drylands cut their water consumption by 11%.
    This performance reflects the extent of their efforts, since all our hotels worldwide (excluding franchised establishments) recorded the average reduction of 8.4%.

    What we plan over the next five years

    Between 2011 and 2015, we did indeed continue to cut our hotels’ CO2 emissions and energy and water consumption.

    However, we did not meet the targets we set ourselves.
    A detailed analysis of our results reveals that our performance is currently levelling off. Especially in the regions which have made the most progress in these three areas, like Europe, for example. We have deployed all possible measures to optimize existing facilities in these regions.
    To further improve our performance, we now need to take our efforts to another level.

    2016-2018: a transition program.
    First, deploy a plan to accelerate the reduction of our carbon and water footprint - the Water & Carbon Plan.

    Apply this plan in all the hotels owned by Accor. Then, demonstrate its benefits to our partners, the owners of the managed and franchised hotels, so that they can apply it in turn. This will trigger a knock-on effect across the rest of the portfolio.

    The Water & Carbon plan comprises four measures:

    1- Introduce more precise monitoring tools.
    To shift into higher gear, we need much more detailed data about our energy and water consumption. This will give us a better understanding of how the facilities work and allow us to target our investments.
    We also now need real-time rather than monthly data, so that we can react immediately at the slightest irregularity and move towards intelligent buildings, which continually regulate their energy requirements.
    Consequently, in 2016 we are equipping our hotels with smart meter and submeter systems.
    The aim is to measure, analyze and manage the energy and water consumption of the hotel’s main facilities, and their operating temperatures, in real time.
    We will also carry out thermographic surveys of our buildings to identify the areas of heat and coolth loss (insulation defects, thermal bridges, etc.).

    2 - Optimize facilities

    To make the very best use of existing facilities, we will:
    analyze the performance of all our hotels’ energy and water production and distribution systems.
    and optimize their settings.

    3 - Standardize"quick wins"
    Most hotels have started to install LED lighting, water flow regulators, and insulation for pipes and equipment containing hot and cold fluids.
    These solutions will now be implemented across all our addresses. We will also raise employee awareness of eco-gestures.

    4 - Introduce carbon monitoring in the hotels

    We will include a carbon performance indicator in our hotels’ dashboard.
    It will reflect emissions from their direct consumption of fossil energies and electricity.


    The Water & Carbon Plan: the roll-out schedule for hotels owned by the Group
    • Test in 28 of our hotels at the beginning of 2016.
    • Roll-out in 200 hotels in 2016.
    • Roll-out extended to the approximately 600 remaining hotels in 2017 and 2018.

    Shifting into higher gear from 2018

    With the Water & Carbon plan and the management of our consumptions, we target to reduce for our owned, leased and managed hotels:

    • average energy consumption per available room by 5%,
    • average water consumption per overnight stay by 5%.

    Then we will shift into higher gear.
    Our objective is to drastically reduce carbon emissions and consumption in the existing portfolio by deploying the same ground-breaking technologies that we use in our new constructions and large-scale renovations, including:

    • new, more efficient renewable energies,
    • electricity storage solutions,
    • smart systems, which react to external factors (e.g. closing the room curtains when the sun heats the windows),
    • rainwater and greywater recycling systems.

    We have strong ambitions and this will inevitably be a lengthy task, that will be completed after 2020 since:

    • we have a large number of hotels,
    • significant investment is required,
    • and our objective is once again to encourage the owners of managed and franchised hotels to follow in our footsteps.

    Focus on water recycling

    Greywater is the soapy water from showers, basins, washing machines, etc.
    We are working in partnership with a company that specializes in these technologies to assess an innovative recycling process which combines energy efficiency and operational effectiveness. It purifies the greywater sufficiently for a range of uses: toilets, but also showers, basins, washing machines, dish-washers, gardening, etc.
    A digital simulation of the process is currently being carried out with water consumption data from the Pullman Marseille.
    If the results for this solution are conclusive, we will carry out a real-scale test in the field.