The carbon footprint of hotels

CO2 footprint of hotels

Climate protection is on everyone's lips and the topic of "sustainability" in hotels is very diverse. Sustainability begins with the fact that the menu of the hotel restaurant includes regional and seasonal dishes in organic quality and with a high proportion of plant-based products. But sustainable organic gastronomy is only a first step in the right direction.

How can hotels improve their carbon footprint?

Sustainable hotels use biodegradable cleaning products , use recycled paper , use green electricity , practice water saving measures and pay attention to waste avoidance and correct waste separation, to name just a few examples. The entire building biology of the hotel during renovation or insulation measures should also be as ecological as possible.

CO2 footprint of organic hotels

Determination of the CO2 footprint of hotels / organic hotels

Each hotel guest consumes a certain amount of CO2 emissions per night, which can be measured according to various criteria. Are we already climate-positive as a hotel or have we overlooked crucial details so far? Viabono GmbH ( ), for example, carries out the precise determination and certification of hotels with the CO2 footprint.

Climate efficiency classes

Viabono divides hotels into six climate efficiency classes (AF). These values, which the hotel creates within a year, are calculated on a scientific basis. A practical and validated survey questionnaire is used to collect general data on the size and equipment of the company, as well as data from the areas of buildings, print, mobility, cleaning/laundry, food & beverage (F & B) and others.

The employees' travel route is also included in the calculation. This allows the CO2 emissions per guest and overnight stay to be calculated. If this value is now known, appropriate action measures can be taken to improve the company's sustainability. Once a hotel has internalized all of these criteria, it can gradually reduce the hotel's carbon footprint to a minimum.

Average CO2 consumption per guest per night in a hotel

CO2 emissions from the Swiss hotel industry, for example, are between around 390,000 and 530,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. According to a Swiss study*, on average a hotel guest consumes the following CO2 emissions:

category CO2 emission Number of guests/nights
3 stars hotel 14.3kg

per guest / night

4 star hotel 18.5kg
5 stars hotel 33.1kg

The hotel and restaurant association DEHOGA assumes the following energy-related CO2 emissions per overnight stay (overnight stay):

category CO2 emission Number of guests/nights
0-2 star hotel 24.7kg

per guest / night

3 stars hotel 16.9kg
4 star hotel 21.0kg
5 stars hotel 47.6kg

Source of the figures: DEHOGA energy campaign, surveys by the DEHOGA regional associations, environmental declarations, as of: 2014 ( )

Climate-friendly organic hotels that actively work to reduce this footprint through ecological measures are able to keep these emissions to well below 10 kg of CO2 per guest per night .

Particularly decisive factors

The emissions load depends on many factors. The fact that CO2 emissions have a lot to do with the food on offer is shown by Will Brookes²'s assessment that the transport emissions of regional food are eight times lower than products imported from overseas. However, the CO2 footprint of food is not only related to regionality, but also particularly to the choice of food. Because meat dishes and dishes containing animal products are immensely more damaging to the climate than purely vegan cuisine . A biovegan hotel already has a noticeable advantage in terms of its CO2 footprint compared to a hotel with meat on the menu.

In our search filter , guests can specify the maximum CO2 consumption in kg that the desired hotel should have under “ Sustainability ”.

Hotels with a maximum carbon footprint of 15 kg per guest/night

* "Energy efficiency and CO2 emissions in the Swiss hotel industry"
² “The Environmental Sustainability of the British Restaurant Industry: A London Case Study”, 2007