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  • Hilton Shares Sustainability Best Practices Across the Globe with Online Education

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Hilton Worldwide has elevated sustainability as a performance metric across all business operations. They leverage Energy University to deliver online, on-demand energy efficiency training to all employees around the world. “Courses developed by the improve operational efficiency and sustainability at the hotels.” —Paulina Godfrey, Senior Sustainability Manager, Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide is a leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxury and full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and focused service hotels. The company’s portfolio of twelve world-class global brands — Hilton, Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy by Hilton, Curio, DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, and Hilton Grand Vacations — comprises more than 4,250 hotels and timeshare properties, with more than 700,000 rooms in 93 countries and territories.

Hilton was one of the first multi-brand hospitality companies to make sustainability a core business driver. Says Paulina Godfrey, Senior Sustainability Manager for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), “The basic principles of responsibility and sustainability have long been an inherent part of how we operate and are reflected in our values. As one of the largest hotel companies in the world, we have a vested interest in operating efficiently and responsibly.”

Online courses educate employees about sustainability practices
Hilton Worldwide University (HWU) offers Hilton team members a wide range of online courses and instructor-led programs for a variety of disciplines and topics, including sustainability. In addition to its internally developed curriculum, HWU has partnered with Schneider Electric’s Energy University to provide various learning paths for energy efficiency training. Energy University is an online, on-demand educational resource, offering more than 200 vendor-neutral courses on energy efficiency to help organizations identify, implement, and monitor efficiency improvements.

“The Energy University courses enable our hotel team members to expand their knowledge of how they can manage energy efficiently in a variety of areas,” says Gretchen Stroud, Senior Director of Learning, Global Brands & Commercial Services for HWU. “While we are primarily targeting engineering team members at the hotel level, we also have created paths within Energy University for general managers and executive housekeepers, among others.” Adds Paulina Godfrey, “Courses developed by the experts provide accessible knowledge to help improve operational efficiency and sustainability at the hotels. Energy University greatly enhances personal development of our engineering staff and other team members and expands their knowledge of energy- and sustainability-related best practices.”

Sustainability as core business driver
“Hilton has elevated sustainability as a performance metric and a brand standard across all of its hotels, raising it to the same level of importance as quality, service, and revenue,” says Godfrey. “We require measurement and corrective action from all of our brands as well as performance toward sustainability goals. A distinctive attribute of our approach is its focus on fully integrating corporate responsibility strategy into our business operations. We are committed to continuous improvement. Our long-term strategy is focused on driving performance through operating standards, staff training, investment in energy efficiency building systems, and renewable energy sources.

Hilton systematically documents and shares best practices
“Through LightStay, a web-based, fully integrated proprietary sustainability system, we are able to calculate and analyze the company’s aggregate sustainability performance across more than 200 indicators. Every one of our more than 4,250 properties is required to use LightStay to track and report ongoing sustainability performance, including monthly utility inputs.

“All Hilton properties are now required to implement, and document in LightStay, at least two efficiency improvement projects which will contribute towards their energy and carbon reduction goals.

“The LightStay system enables Hilton to communicate sustainable best practices and accurately collect data across a multitude of hotel types, global cultures, and operating conditions.

“Within the engineering recognition program, Driving Value, we use HWU to encourage further awareness and education to streamline operational efficiency and promote sustainability.”

Energy University addresses 3 global challenges

Hilton partnered with Energy University for three primary reasons:

  • spectrum of its curriculum
  • availability of courses in multiple languages
  • easy-to-use online learning platform

As Gretchen Stroud explains, “With team members in 93 countries and territories around the world, being able to provide learning opportunities in different languages is an ongoing challenge. One of the great benefits of the partnership with Energy University is the ability to provide sustainability training to our hotel team members in several of our key languages.”

Paulina Godfrey echoes the point: “The large number of languages offered means that learners can absorb knowledge in their native tongue –—this is very important for us as a global company operating in 93 countries and cultures.”

“Energy University expands our engineering education curriculum and provides a reduced-cost way to study for and achieve Professional Energy Manager (PEM) certification,” Stroud says. “The ability to complete their PEM certification through Energy University is a great opportunity for team members to continue to grow professionally. Additionally, in some U.S. states, Energy University through Hilton provides a convenient way to meet continuing education requirements.”

Paulina Godfrey adds, “Being an eLearning platform, Energy University is easily accessible by all learners, who can select to learn at their own pace. The courses are interactive and continuously check learners’ understanding of the subject.

“It is important to ensure a constant exchange of information on best practices and successful solutions. Streamlining and optimizing performance whilst maintaining high standards and service with limited capital investment is a universal challenge facing the hospitality sector. We of course should not forget or downplay the importance of the human factor — the enthusiasm and power of an individual and the need to empower team members to do the right thing and recognize best practices. Energy University helps us raise awareness of available solutions, spark new ideas, and support personal development of our team members and help propel their careers.”


Eric Windzigl (left), started at the Hilton Columbus Downtown in September 2012 as a Maintenance Engineer. With the assistance of the PEM class, Eric has implemented strategies to significantly reduce electricity usage. Eric uses on a daily basis the items from the PEM classes when replacing ballasts to ongoing energy efficiency projects.

Phil Hornstra (right), Director of Engineering at the Hilton Columbus Downtown, completed the PEM certification to discover ongoing strategies for saving energy at a brand-new LEED Gold New Construction Hotel. The PEM offered good refreshers to new higher-level strategies that are often overlooked by design engineers. The biggest saver was motor sequencing strategies that have saved over 300,000 KWH/year, or about $21,000 on a newly commissioned building.

Learn more about Energy University and free online training from Schneider Electric
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