When addressing energy in the context of circular economy the following thematics need to be tackled: high efficient energy systems and sustainable energy management, which can be fulfilled by introducing technologies based on renewable sources or sustainably using the available resources.
SMEs, especially in the tourism sector, can contribute on different levels improving their energy behaviour towards a more circular culture. It is also not surprising that those countries with greater sources of renewable energy use, the implementation of circular economy concepts is higher and have a higher level of awareness regarding climate change. Circular economy in the energy industry focuses on the optimization of 3 basic aspects:
Energy is of critical importance for tourism. Also, it is a special concern for off-grid facilities when it comes to Energy supply, use and efficiency. Relying only on technology-intensive solutions tends to have a higher cost. According to the analysis of the European Hotels (n.d.), energy use for most hotels falls in the range of 200-400 KWh/m2 year with the average energy use in the range 305-330 KWh/m2 year, and releases between 160-200kg of CO2 per m2 of room floor area.
Most of this energy is derived from fossil sources, and the hotel sector’s contribution to global warming and climate change is estimated to include annual releases between 160 and 200kg of CO2 per m2 of room floor area, depending on the fuel mix used to provide energy. Buildings account for 40% of the total energy consumption and 36% of the CO2 emissions in the European Union, which means they have a large potential for energy savings. Hotels and other accommodation buildings are responsible for 21% of total GHG emissions of the tourism sector.
The figure shows the breakdown of total energy consumption for a typical hotel. The most energy is consumed in the processes of heating the space (31%), followed by water heating (17%), cooling (15%) and lighting (12%).
Source: Jaroszewskaa, et al. (2019).
Source: Styles D., Schönberger H., & Galvez Martos J. L. (2017).
An analysis of the energy behavior of Greek hotels (Vourdoubas, 2016) showed that 72-75% of the total energy was consumed in space heating, hot water production and air conditioning. 15% was consumed in catering, 8-9% for lighting and the rest for the operation of various machinery.
In another study in the region of Crete (Zografakis et al, 2011), where 32 hotels were assessed, it was found that the mean annual electricity cost per bed was € 112.17 and that 87.5% of the hotel managers agreed or fully agreed that efficient energy management could increase hotel profits. On the other hand, they stated that only 53.2% agreed or fully agreed that tourists selected their hotel accommodation based on its environmental image.
According to the data provided in the table, we can see the annual energy consumption in different regions and countries, which measures different data. From the table, we can see that hotels in Europe consume around 305-330 KWh/m2 annually. Hotels in Greece consume a bit less, which ranges between 200-290 KWh/m2 while Southern Europe as a region consumes a bit less, around 128-171 KWh/ m2 annually.
Annual energy consumption KWh/m2
Annual Energy consumption KWh/p.n.s
Annual CO2 emissions KgCO2/p.n.s
Source: Vourdoubas, J. (2016).