Maintainability vs sustainability: Finding the common ground in property management

Maintainability and SustainabilityJuggling maintenance and sustainability in a property is a balancing act between deciding what level of maintenance we want to achieve and can afford and ensuring that the property runs as efficiently as possible without compromising on service or standards.

Is there a difference between maintainability and sustainability?

Well, in my mind, I believe they are the same. The difference is that the people managing the property are smart enough to combine small and manageable doses to achieve essential property maintenance and keep up with technology and efficiencies.

Maintenance and sustainability on a property, no matter where it is located, should not be a sprint; it should be a marathon that is run slowly and steadily over time. If planned correctly, these elements complement each other and dramatically reduce the property’s footprint, thus saving time, money, and effort. As well as not chewing into the profits of the property.

Focus on bottom line while leveraging for hotel marketing

Small and measurable steps can be taken to reduce consumption and utilities, which are good for the bottom line and are a marketing tool that can enhance the guest experience and bring the property in line with your competitors.

  • Duetto Trends Banner
  • APN Solutions Banner
  • eHotelier Essentials Banner

The key here is the measurable component, and it is important to track your utilities to be assured you’re on the right path and making the right decisions. Simple tracking methods can be implemented at the start and maintained to ensure that your actions are reaping the rewards.

Combining maintainability and sustainability by utility

Here are the practical ways of combining maintainability and sustainability in your property. Depending on where in the world you are operating from, the level of which you may want to tweak to achieve even greater results. For ease of explanation, I’ve broken these down into utility services.

1. Power

The obvious ways to reduce your electrical consumption on a property are:

  • LED energy-efficient lighting (almost everything that we purchase these days is, but consider
  • swapping out those older fixtures if you have an older property)
  • Introduction of alternative power sources
  • Peak saving with alternative power sources and generators
  • Phase balancing to reduce loads on prime power sources
  • Sensor lighting and photovoltaic cells, coupled with timers in public spaces
  • Solar-powered street lighting

Not all of these are quick and easy to implement; however, a long-term approach to swapping out and replacing elements over time will help reduce consumption.

For example, depending on the layout of your property, you might plan for, budget and implement areas to be replaced with standard lighting with energy-efficient LED lights. Or you might start installing a solar power system that feeds directly into the property initially to reduce your consumption and later look at the installation of battery storage to reduce costs further.

Concerning alternative sourced power, there are several new technologies out there that can offset your electrical power consumption. A number of different factors come into play when deciding which is the most suitable for your property, so make sure you do your research before jumping out and purchasing systems. Things such as annual rainfall, temperatures, winds and solar exposure must be factored into this decision to get the most efficiency out of the system you are implementing.

2. Water

One, if not the most economical way to minimise water consumption is to install leak detection on main lines and network systems. In older properties, your network has been around for a very long time and without knowing it, you could be losing thousands of litres of water a day through not so many small leaks. It doesn’t matter if your property is on a little island or the mainland; water is an expensive resource, and if we can consume less and still meet our needs, it will be all around better for the property.

Other ways of reducing the consumption of water are:

  • Rainwater harvesting for gardens and flushing
  • Grey water flushing and irrigation systems
  • High-efficiency toilets, taps, showers and flow restrictors
  • Appropriate watering times for grounds and landscaping
  • Specific drought-tolerant plant species and native plants
  • Timed and sensor taps and flushes in public areas amenities

Leak detection systems are very common these days and simple to install. If your property has a history of issues, it will save you a lot of headaches by narrowing down where your leaks are and hopefully resolving them once and for all. Irrigating grounds at specific times of the evening where evaporation is minimal or using treated grey water instead of potable water is another simple way to reduce consumption. A tap with a timed release function installed will save you thousands of litres in a public bathroom space over a year.

3. Waste

Waste reduction is all about the volume; more specifically, the less volume your property creates, the less it costs. The more you can do to reduce the amount of waste that has to be shipped out, the more cost-effective it becomes. The same applies in a large city where the bins are collected weekly. What if you could reduce that by half? Think of all the savings you would make over a year.

Here are some practical ways to reduce the waste your property produces.

  • Installing bottles and can crushers to reduce volume and re-utilise in other areas
  • Utilising cardboard bailers, compactors and shredders to reduce volume
  • Green waste chipping or mulching machines to create garden mulch
  • High-efficiency incinerators (3000 Deg C +)
  • Waste separating systems (to separate specific waste streams to be utilised elsewhere)
  • Investing in water bottling systems to reduce the amount of plastic waste

Low hanging fruit that is at many properties is waste separation on the property, even in the guest rooms. Historically, we used the scrap food waste to feed the livestock we kept on site so that we didn’t have to bring in additional supplements. We crushed the glass, shredded the metal cans, and used it as road base and fill for concrete construction. Then, we used the green waste and stockpiled this once put through the chipper to create fertilizer for our gardens, reducing the chemicals purchased.

4. Buildings

There are several ways to ensure that your building is as efficient as possible; most of the time, it is best to do this when constructing. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t retrofit these ideas on older and established buildings.

The most predominant ways of making your building efficient are:

  • Insulation in roof, floor and wall cavities
  • Window, door and attic seals
  • Magnetic and/or reed switches for HVAC activation
  • Replacing old standard pumps with energy-efficiency pumps
  • Ensuring flashing and weatherproofing are in place and works
  • Natural ventilation and utilising the prevailing climate to your advantage
  • Appropriate FF&E choices to suit your climate, location, décor and clientele

The results

All these items can be implemented while you undertake your normal programmed maintenance on your property. You can implement these in stages while undertaking programs like the Perfect Villa Program or Perfect Room Programs. Over a few years, you will notice a dramatic reduction in utilities, which in turn reduced the overall maintenance of the property and our overall costs.

If you want to take it to the next level, consider becoming completely self-sufficient and create the WOW factor for your property. And you don’t need a lot of real estate or be on an island to achieve this.


Tags: Maintainability, property management, sustainability, utilities

Design/Project Management/Sustainability, Cayuga Hospitality Consultants


A highly experienced network of independent hospitality consultants providing a diversity of consulting services and expert guidance to the Hotel/Resort, Food & Beverage, Commercial Foodservice, Club and Spa, Casino and Tourism industries.

Related Articles

Related Courses

You might also like:

  • Duetto Trends
Join over 60,000 industry leaders.

Receive daily leadership insights and stay ahead of the competition.

Leading solution providers: