In less than three years, Tourism Vancouver's Energy Specialist Program has assisted more than 50 tourism businesses (including hotels, restaurants and attractions) achieve more than two million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy savings - the equivalent of providing enough energy to power 212 homes for a year.
First launched in May 2012, the Tourism Energy Specialist Program (TESP) is still considered a worldwide first among destination marketing and management organizations. The program was made possible through sponsorship from BC Hydro with the mandate to guide Tourism Vancouver's 1,000 member hotels, restaurants and attractions in achieving energy efficiency, practicing conservation initiatives, facilitating educational workshops, and realizing financial savings. Tourism Vancouver's Gwendal Castellan is a trained energy specialist and thermographer, and has worked with the organization since the inception of the program.
Additional highlights from the Tourism Energy Specialist Program include:
- Roedde House Museum - a uniquely restored Victorian heritage house - worked with TESP to identify better weatherization. Castellan used a blower door test to identify drafts and air leakage, which resulted in a total savings of approximately 3,350 kWh per year (a 30 percent reduction in heat loss caused by air leakage).
- The Burrard, a historic hotel in Vancouver's downtown core, has worked with TESP on an ongoing basis to produce a comprehensive list of money-saving ideas that complement the hotel's sustainability objectives. To date, The Burrard has implemented two of the recommendations: a redesign of the hotel's parkade lighting (resulting in a total savings of 8,400 kWh per year), and installation of showerhead flow-constrictors (which reduce water consumption by 40 percent).
- Fairmont Pacific Rim - already a Five Green Key luxury hotel - recently worked with TESP to transition from 9400 MR16 Halogen light bulbs to LED lighting, resulting in a remarkable 25 percent savings in kWh per year.
"I think the program is a win for everyone involved," said Castellan. "By assisting Tourism Vancouver member businesses find energy savings, we're not only making their product greener and helping them reduce costs. We're also working together towards a much bigger vision: the City's Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, which will ultimately put Vancouver on the map as the greenest destination in the world."
"When we first launched the Energy Specialist program, we didn't realize how successful it was going to be," said Paul Vallee, Tourism Vancouver's executive vice president. "Clearly there's a demand by local tourism businesses to improve their environmental stewardship. One of the goals of the Tourism Master Plan is to work alongside the City of Vancouver's Greenest City 2020 Action Plan to develop and promote Vancouver as a world-leading, sustainable community and tourism destination - and our Energy Specialist program is enabling us to do exactly that."
Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists. The organization's brand essence is about "exceeding expectations".