Energy efficiency in Thai hotels - project concluded successfully

Tourism, one of Thailand's key industries, uses vast amounts of energy. In recent years, a project supported by the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) succeeded in establishing a pilot region as a model for sustainable tourism on the Thai island of Kho Khao and the Andaman coast. It focused on energy efficiency in hotels and the use of renewable energy. The project worked closely with local hotel owners and used individually tailored solutions to demonstrate the benefits of efficient energy technology. 

On 24 March 2011, the project – which had been supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety's International Climate Initiative (ICI) since November 2008 - was brought to a successful conclusion. At the closing event in Bangkok, Deputy State Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Ms Thanitta Savetsila Maneechote, thanked the German government and the implementing organisations UNWTO and adelphi research gGmbH for their support to this project. She went on to highlight the project's positive impacts and its sustainable character.

The hotels that participated in the project have been able to significantly cut their emissions and energy costs. First estimates assume that the measures implemented, the investment in new technologies and organisational improvements will mean that about 192 tonnes less CO2 per year will be emitted, saving the hotels roughly 385,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year. It will be possible to give more specific details once the monitoring procedure has been completed. To achieve these results, the project determined the energy consumption of each hotel and made individual suggestions for how they might make savings. Based on these recommendations, the hotels put energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in place, including heat pumps, solar-hybrid electricity systems and efficient pool pumps. Depending on the type of hotel and the technology used, annual reductions in emissions of 10 to 25 % a year are possible. The technologies were purchased in the region, so that the measures also directly benefited the local economy. The project also trained hotels and local communities along the entire Andaman coast on energy technologies and produced an energy efficiency guide for hotels in Thailand. These capacity building measures allow the experience gained within the project to be transferred to other hotels and regions, thus having a lasting impact.