'Water regulation, treatment can save EU hospitality industry €1.4 billion' - Business Bureau report

The Malta Business Bureau published the report, titled 'The potential for energy and water savings within the EU through flow rate regulation and greywater treatment'

European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella was presented with a report earlier today, showing that savings of around €1.4 billion are possible for the EU hospitality industry.

The Malta Business Bureau report, titled 'The potential for energy and water savings within the EU through flow rate regulation and greywater treatment' was presented by the MBB, the MHRA and the Malta Chamber at Dar L-Ewropa in Valletta, and also launched in partner countries Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland and Slovenia.

Welcoming the report, Vella said, “Water stress is a growing factor in many countries in the EU, and an area where there are clear and easy technological wins. The promising results in this study will feed into future Commission work.”

Commenting on the benefits, MHRA Environmental Committee Chair Ing. Restall said, “Reducing operating costs for the EU's hospitality industry by 1.4 billion Euros per annum would increase its profitability as well as competitiveness on a global level. This would significantly strengthen an industry which is one of Europe's key employers and economic drivers.”

The savings could be achieved through the industry-wide adoption of flow rate regulation on showers and wash-hand basins, and greywater treatment. Commercially viable flow rate regulation and greywater treatment equipment are widely available within the EU.

However, while 45% of surveyed hotels have already adopted flow rate regulation, the measures taken have not achieved their full savings potential. Greywater treatment has only been adopted by 1% of hotels. 

Malta Chamber Environmental Committee Chair David Xuereb said, “Increasing the take up of both of these measures would necessitate increasing the capacity of suppliers within the EU. For greywater treatment, in particular, this would involve developing a fledgling industry. This would create green jobs within all Member States, increase research and innovation, and also create an industry with strong potential for exportation of goods and services outside of the EU.”

Furthermore, both measures would result in water savings of over 365 trillion litres of water. Flow rate regulation would have the added advantage of reducing the energy required to heat water, resulting in around 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions reduction. 

The report follows previous assessments by the MBB's award winning EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project. As part of that project, a key measure which could facilitate wider adoption of these measures was identified to be the better uptake of the EU Ecolabel for water consuming appliances such as taps, showers and urinals, and the creation of a standard for 2nd class water.

The MBB, together with its international partners, will seek a common position from industry on these two policy measures, as well as common initiatives which would help drive a wider adoption of flow rate regulation and greywater treatment.  

Commenting on the MBB's commitment to facilitating this transition, MBB CEO Joe Tanti said “Such a drive could merge green job creation, the financial strengthening of one of Europe’s large industries, and the creation of a new industry with strong potential for export.

"This would stimulate increased growth within the European economy while saving water, reducing CO2 emissions and energy dependence. It would be an excellent case study in environmental measures making excellent business sense.”

The study collected data for 5.5 million guest nights, by 247 hotels in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Malta and Slovenia.

The report was prepared by the Malta Business Bureau, authored by MBB CEO Joe Tanti, water expert Ing. Marco Cremona, and MBB Sustainable Development Manager Geoffrey Saliba.

It was compiled with the support of HOTREC, in partnership with the Irish Hotels Federation, the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association, HORECA Flanders, Association of Hotels and Restaurants Czech Republic, Hungarian Association of Hotels and Restaurants, Tourism and Hospitality Chamber of Slovenia, and was co-financed by the HSBC Water Programme.