Cork’s Imperial Hotel has been given the stamp of approval for sustainability after earning a prestigious Gold Label after the hotel’s ‘Green Team’ worked to reduce their negative environmental impact.
The historic Cork hotel is part of Fifty Shades Greener, the leading national environmental programme run in conjunction with Cork College of FET- Bishopstown Campus recognising businesses that have taken steps to reduce their business Carbon Footprint. The Imperial is the first Cork hospitality venue to be awarded Fifty Shades Greener’s prestigious Gold Label.
The Imperial Hotel was the first hotel business in Cork to receive the 50 Shades Greener award on Friday morning, following their completion of a new programme offered by Cork College of FET’s Bishopstown Campus in conjunction with SOLAS.
The programme aims to reduce carbon emissions within the tourism and hospitality industry, in addition to making energy and waste cost savings for hotels.
The aim of this project is to provide businesses within the tourism and hospitality industry with the knowledge and skills required to be able to control and reduce their use of utilities. The Imperial Hotel achieved the Gold Standard Award and is the first hotel in Cork to do so. As part of the Gold Standard award the Imperial measured their environmental impact, observed and learnt from their building and implemented a green action plan of activities to help them manage and reduce their impact on the environment. They also shared their CO2 data on their Environmental Policy and have action plans in place for Green Purchasing, HR and Marketing.
The programme is focussed on three key pillars of sustainability- energy, water and waste, with the below included as part of the course outline:
- Provision to establish baselines and Green KPI’s (Carbon calculations)
- Monthly benchmarking of utilities
- Short and easy to follow videos to train all staff members of each organisation
It is hoped that this reduction of utilities will result in businesses achieving the ambitious goal of lowering their carbon footprint, reducing energy consumption and waste, and thus contributing to a reduction of the overall running costs of the business.
Speaking in relation to the programme, Valerie Cowman, Manager of Cork College of FET’s Bishopstown Campus congratulated the Imperial on their achievement.
She said: “I am delighted to present this award to the Imperial Hotel. Their achievement of Gold Standard award is testament to the huge work done by the team here to become more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint. Its never been more important to take steps in this area and the Imperial is lighting the way for other hospitality business in the region.The 50 Shades programme continues to go from strength to strength in Cork, we currently have another 23 hospitality businesses who are engaging in the programme. I would encourage any businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry who would like to follow suit to visit the following website to register their interest – Green training for the Hospitality Industry (fiftyshadesgreener.ie),”
After investing nearly €400,000 into a sustainability programme over the last four years, The Imperial’s General Manager Bastien Peyraud said: ““We are shouting from the rooftops because we are so incredibly proud,”
“We are always looking for ways to reduce our footprint, care for and protect the environment, and give back to the communities we are part of.
After taking over as the general manager in 2019, Frenchman Bastien and his ‘Green Team’ have been working hard to make the multi-award-winning hotel carbon neutral, carrying out in depth analysis of its Scope 1, 2 & 3 Carbon Emissions, with the help of the expertise of third parties such as Fifty Shades Greener, and Green Hospitality. These programmes have really helped the hotel give structure and further knowledge to what they have been trying to achieve. The programmes have also given the team a sense of achievement in having goals to work towards.
The hotel have looked in detail at their Scope 1&2 Carbon Emissions with the ultimate goal being to move away completely from the use of Fossil Fuels while continuing to reduce the hotels energy consumption.
The Hotel is well on its way to electrifying its heat requirements, with only domestic hot water remaining natural gas. They have recently signed a contract with an Electricity provider for 100% renewable energy. The hotel also has a Business management system in place to control their consumption.
Their current green contract with their Natural Gas supplier has been designed to provide them with a carbon offset for their gas consumption which allows them to move towards net zero in the near future, but as stated previously it is their aim to move away completely from the use of Fossil Fuels, and reduce their consumption as much as possible, reducing their overall impact on the environment.
The hotel has succeeded in reducing its overall energy consumption in 2022 over 2019 by 7% year to date. They have been engaging with the SEAI, and have just been awarded a grant to carry out stage 1 of the SEAI Exeed programme with the hopes of executing several larger projects over the next year.
‘’We are not only tasked with significantly reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint, but we are also responsible for taking care of a historic building which has been a part of Cork City for over 200 years”
Together with Scope 1&2, they have also looked at their Scope 3 Waste & Water. Since 2019, the hotel has reduced its landfill waste by 48% and is well on the way to making that figure 50% by the end of the year. They have put bins in place in all departments to ensure all waste is correctly separated. In doing this they have been in a position to reduce the number of general waste bins to one. They are working towards reducing the weight further by continuing to engage with all their stakeholders.
They have also removed all single-use plastics from their rooms, and continue to work with their stakeholders in promoting a circular economy. Their purchasing policy is to source as local as possible, with 67% of their food locally sourced at present.
They are also working to reduce their water consumption, installing pressure compensating water systems and replacing glass bottled water in bedrooms with sustainable Tetra Pak water. They also have Echo 3 water filtration systems for refilling bottles, their cleaning products are all sourced from green providers, and they are looking to start rainwater harvesting, which could be used to supplement water into storage tanks for showers or used for cleaning.
Bastien Peyraud said the team is dedicated to continuing their name as Cork’s green hotel, saying “our Imperial family works smart every day to ensure we become the most sustainable hotel.”
The 50 Shades Greener programme is designed to accommodate businesses working on busy schedules and offers a flexible model of delivery with a self-directed online programme in support of industry needs.
This course is divided into six modules, with the time a company takes to complete each module being completely up to them as it is determined by their business and their existing practices.
There is four and a half hours of video tuition over four months, however, this does not include the implementation time of tasks as this is determined by each individual business.
In terms of a rough timeline, it is envisaged that Modules 1 & 2 would be completed in the first month, Module 3 in the following 2 weeks, with a month allowed to implement each of Modules 4 and 5, with the final 2 weeks to implement Module 6.
This programme is intended to be an ongoing learning process for the company, which support and guidance on best practice available from 50 Shades Greener for one year upon signing up to participate.
Further information on applying to take part in the programme is available through the following websites:
Green training for the Hospitality Industry (fiftyshadesgreener.ie)
Cork Training Centre – Day Courses, Evening Courses, Apprenticeships
For more information on Cork ETB’s FET offering, visit https://www.corketb.ie/fet. For updates, visit Cork Education and Training Board or Cork ETB on YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.