What is the carbon footprint of staying at a hotel?

Everytime you book a hotel, your stay creates a carbon footprint.

Unfortunately, information on exact hotel booking carbon footprints is neither easy to calculate nor readily available. What’s more, information about the sustainability initiatives taken by hotels can make it even harder to work out which hotel is actually the most eco-friendly.

We are in a climate crisis that is driven by CO2 emissions, so we believe it is vital to cut through this noise to help you quickly & clearly understand the carbon footprint of booking at any given hotel.

In this blog I’ll share how we’ve calculated the carbon footprint of millions of hotels with market-leading accuracy. Staze acts as an independent voice on the actual carbon footprint of hotel bookings, we update our data and calculations regularly and believe in total transparency.

Energy from renewable sources Watch out! If a hotel gets energy from renewable sources, it’s not always a sign that they have a smaller carbon footprint than other hotels that don’t.

The GHG is the official source of advice on calculating the carbon footprints of different activities. We have built on their methodology to calculate individual hotel emission factors instead of one single average for all hotels.

This is important because the data shows that more sustainable hotels can have a carbon footprint over 25 times smaller than other hotels in the same city!

75% of the carbon footprint of an overnight stay at a hotel comes from energy usage.

Most of the CO2 that you emit during your stay comes from the emissions of the energy that you use.

This means that the type of energy that the hotel uses and the amount of energy that they use per guest are the two most important factors for calculating the overall carbon footprint of a hotel.

Using energy from low-carbon renewable sources is a step in the right direction, but if this represents a small proportion of the total energy usage then it won’t significantly reduce the CO2 footprint of your stay.

There are many other factors that impact the total energy a hotel uses, from building design to behavioural nudges, but the energy data is the ultimate indicator of how well a hotel is actually managing to reduce the carbon footprint of each guest’s stay.

The other 25% of the carbon footprint is significantly harder to measure.

The remaining carbon footprint includes everything required for the hotel to operate that is not powered by electricity or gas. These are known as scope 3 emissions, the GHG provides an exhaustive list of these areas but unfortunately hotels are not required to report on them and even if they were, there are many gaps in the data in global supply chains.

Academic research into hotel carbon footprints, reports from leading hotel chains and our own bottom-up analysis show that these scope 3 emissions typically account for 25% of the overall footprint.

We’re working with hotels to get more visibility on this area of emissions, but in the meantime we’ve adjusted our emissions data to a per occupied room basis and factored it up to accurately indicate the overall footprint of staying at each hotel.

If you need to track and report on your CO2 emissions, we can provide supporting evidence for every footprint calculation on Staze to help you report with market-leading accuracy.

Find the hotel with the lowest carbon footprint anywhere on Staze, and we’ll double offset your carbon footprint for free.