Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Greenpeace and Bali hotels work together in energy efficiency program

[ JakartaPost ]

BENOA, Bali (JP): Hotels in Bali, working together with environmental organization Greenpeace, launched Tuesday an energy efficiency program aimed at promoting responsible and climate friendly tourism on the resort island.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner, Shailendra Yashwant, said the program, called “Switch off, Unplug, Enjoy – Energy Efficient Bali”, set an ambitious target of lowering hotel electricity consumption by 40 percent within a year.

“We are very ambitious, but it is very possible to achieve,” Shailendra said.

The program was launched aboard the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior, currently docked in Benoa Harbor off Nusa Dua, where the United Nations conference on climate change is underway.

Environment Minister, Rachmat Witoelar, welcomed the initiative. “Undoubtedly, like any other sector, tourism potentially contributes to the problem of climate change. On the understanding that everyone must do their share to reduce our collective carbon footprints, the Indonesian government welcomes this Greenpeace initiative to kick-start a conscious effort to help offset some of the problems associated with inefficient energy use,” he said.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) says international tourism contributes some 5 percent to global carbon emissions. Based on UNWTO tourism market forecast, if no mitigation measures are taken, the industry’s carbon emissions could grow by 150 percent in the next 30 years.

Greenpeace has surveyed 15 hotels in Nusa Dua, Bali, under the program, to see their existing energy and environmental conservation practices.

“There are a lot of things that can be improved, such us using renewable energy for power sources. Even though the sun shines all year round, hotels here do not use solar power water heaters,” Shailendra said.

Sulistyowati, deputy assistant to Environment Minister for the impacts of climate change affairs, says hotels in Indonesia, including in Bali, have not been energy efficient.

“The designs of the hotels should be made in a way that could save energy. The more windows, for instance, the less energy will be spent on lights and air conditioning,” she said.

She added that the latest study on hotels’ contribution to global warming showed that lighting accounted for 70 percent of their contribution, compared to water (12 percent), greenhouse gasses (30 percent) and waste (65 percent).

Data from the Bali office of state electricity company, PLN, reveals that hotels – especially in Badung regency and Denpasar city -- consume 70 percent of the total electricity supply, which reaches 439 megawatts during peak hours. Nusa Dua resort area, the venue of the UN climate conference, alone consumes over one third of the power allocated for the hotels.

Shailendra said the energy saving program will consist of training on energy conservation, water conservation and waste management for hotel staff. Greenpeace will also provide energy efficiency and energy conservation awareness for tourists and will persuade the Indonesian government to provide incentives and subsidies that allow hotels to invest in renewable energy.

Urs Klee of the Bali Hotels Association said that hotels welcomed the program, which could give a medium 300-room-hotel savings of up to US$30,000 per year by installing solar water heaters.

“Using renewable energy saves money. The (establishment) costs will be returned within two to three years,” he said. (Ary Hermawan and Prodita Sabarini)

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