Audit in view of obtaining the European Ecolabel for tourist accommodation service
If you plan to adopt an environmental policy and action plan for your hotel, a useful first step might be to evaluate how your establishment stands in terms of the European Ecolabel requirements, and assess the work to be done to qualify for certification.
The European Ecolabel is an official certification delivered by the European Union, recognised throughout Europe, and is a positive asset for marketing strategy. Even if you do not intend to apply for the ecolabel, the information on this certification may give you ideas for improving energy efficiency and the environmental performance of your hotel.
Overall objective of the European Ecolabel
• The European Ecolabel for Tourist Accommodations has been created to identify environmentally friendly tourist establishments. The flower logo tells customers that an establishment is committed to high environmental standards and performance.
• More and more customers demand accommodation that respects the environment; the European Ecolabel can be a powerful commercial asset for your hotel.
What are the conditions to be met to qualify for the European Ecolabel?
• The European Ecolabel lists criteria in the following environmental areas:
- energy consumption,
- water consumption,
- waste generation,
- use of chemical substances,
- environmental management.
• Some criteria are mandatory, others optional – but to be certified the hotel must satisfy a sufficient number of optional criteria. For more information on the criteria and eligibility for the European Ecolabel, see the website www.ecolabel-tourism.eu.
• To begin with, you can evaluate how your establishment stands in terms of the ecolabel criteria, focusing on the mandatory criteria, to determine if your hotel meets these conditions. This will give you an initial perception of the work to be done to obtain certification. Later you can study the optional criteria to further develop your environmental action.
- Refer to the table below for information on energy efficiency criteria, both mandatory and optional, for hotels.
- The website www.traintoecolabel.org offers detailed information on the requirements for meeting each criterion. This website is based on the "old" criteria that were accepted up to 31 October 2009, and has not been updated since September 2009.
Aspects of the European Ecolabel pertaining to energy efficiency (European Commission Decision of 9 July 2009)
The table below gives you an overall view of all the criteria related directly or indirectly to energy. The table indicates whether a criterion is mandatory or optional, and what aspects if covers: type of energy used, equipment efficiency, regulations that apply to equipment, building characteristics, management practices.
Criterion no. Mandatory/Optional Specific area covered by the criterion
Type of energy used
1 M • Electricity from renewable resources (at least 50%)
2 M • No coal or heavy oil use
30 O • Generation of electricity through renewable energy sources (at least 20% of annual consumption)
31 O • Energy from renewable energy sources
34 O • District heating
35 O • Combined heat and power (cogeneration)
36 O • Heat pump
48 O • Swimming pool heating with renewable energy sources
Equipment efficiency / regulations that apply to equipment
3 M • Efficiency and heat generation
4 M • Air conditioning (Class A)
7 M • Switching off heating or air conditioning
8 M • Switching off lights
9 M • Energy-efficient light bulbs
10 M • Outside heating appliances
32 O • Boiler energy efficiency
33 O • Boiler NOx emissions
37 O • Heat recovery
38 O • Thermoregulation
40 O • Air conditioning (15% more efficient than Class A equipment)
41 O • Automatic switching-off of air conditioning and heating systems
43 O • Energy-efficient refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, washing machines, driers/tumblers and office equipment
45 O • Refrigerator positioning
46 O • Automatic switching-off of lights in rooms
47 O • Sauna timer control
49 O • Automatic switching-off of outside lights
5 M • Energy efficiency of buildings
6 M • Window insulation
39 O • Energy performance audits for buildings
42 O • Bioclimatic architecture
Operational measures with impact on energy use
23 M • Maintenance and servicing of boilers and air conditioning systems
24 M • Policy setting and environmental programme
25 M • Staff training
26 M • Information to guests
27 M • Energy and water consumption data
29 M • Information appearing on the ecolabel
89 O • Energy and water meters
How do I apply for the European Ecolabel?
If you think that your hotel meets the requirements of the European Ecolabel, we strongly recommend that you apply for certification. The first step is to contact your "competent body", the national organisation in charge of processing the applications for attribution of the ecolabel in your country. This body will provide all the information you need on the application process.
• You will have to submit a detailed application showing how the technical criteria are fulfilled. The competent body is charged with verifying compliance before attribution of the ecolabel, and may check the data submitted.
• If your application meets all the requirements and after payment of application fees, your establishment will receive the ecolabel certification.
Prepare an effective action plan
Choose options that are recognised on a European scale:
• The European Ecolabel requirements can help you set up a strategy for your hotel and elaborate an environmental action plan based on options that are recognised throughout Europe.
Involve your employees:
• The preliminary work leading up to ecolabel certification can be a very effective way to raise employees' awareness of the environmental impact of your hotel and encourage them to get involved in your action plan.
Make your establishment more visible on the market:
• The European Ecolabel gives your hotel a competitive advantage and better visibility for customers.
• Ease of implementation: Easy to moderate (*/**)
• Best time: can be put into place at any time. Recommended before carrying out renovation work in the hotel.
• Relevant initial situation: The hotel director plans to draw up an environmental policy for the establishment.