26th March 2024

As part of the UK government’s legal commitment to reach net zero by 2050, all UK businesses - large and small - are being urged to play their part. Our energy reduction tips below will not only help you with your carbon footprint, but they will also help reduce costs in the long run and show your customers that you are a purpose-driven business too.

There are three steps to energy reduction in your tourism business:

  • Measure
  • Commit
  • Act


The first step to carbon reduction in your business is to start actively measuring your carbon impact. If you are a small business owner, you don’t need to spend money on external consultancies to do this, you can use a free online carbon calculator to help you.


    If you are a hotel, check out HES e-Toolkit, a free online tool that helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the accommodation sector to assess their current energy use and carbon footprint against similar businesses, as well as providing possible solutions. You can also use the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) from the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance which is freely available for large and small hotels.


    UKHospitality has collaborated with Zero Carbon Forum to launch a hospitality calculator for businesses in the hospitality industry.


    ClimateHero is a free online tool designed specifically for service businesses to calculate your carbon footprint in five minutes.

  • SMES

    For a more general small and medium enterprise (SME) carbon calculator, check out the Carbon Trust’s carbon footprint calculator.

In Hertfordshire, Wenta's Action Zero programme provides useful advice and support for businesses aiming to reduce their carbon footprint. Get in touch to find out about possible opportunities.

Once you have found a measurement method that suits your business, put aside some time when you can gather your bills and sit down with all the information you need. Set up a simple spreadsheet to record the information (that becomes your ‘baseline’ data), so that you can track reductions going forwards.



Once you know your current energy usage, you can commit to reductions. Set yourself clear targets and be transparent about this commitment on your website. As part of our Sustainable Tourism Action Plan, Visit Herts is asking all tourism businesses in Hertfordshire to make a commitment to energy reduction by 2025. You might also like to sign up to the SME Climate Commitment, backed by the UN Race to Zero campaign and the UK government, and The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action on Tourism.

Share your ambitions and make sure your employees are all committed to these goals. You may decide you need a more detailed plan over the coming years, or you might keep your commitment simple and get to work on reductions straight away.



If you haven’t already, now is the time to start the action! Use the tips below to help you on your journey. Don’t forget to involve your customers (as well as your employees) too. Simple messaging about their role in helping with reductions can make all the difference.


    Start by looking at your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating to see how efficient your building currently is. Improving the energy efficiency of your buildings can cut the cost of heating. Adding insulation to lofts, floors and walls will save energy costs in the long term, as will double or triple glazed windows. Increasing the thickness of existing insulation is a cheaper option. Fitting draught-proofing around windows and doors is also cost effective and is easy enough to do yourself. Other ‘quick wins’ include thermal lined curtains and blinds, and be sure to close these once the evening draws in, to help keep heat in.


    If you haven’t already, sign up for a smart meter. This useful website helps small business owners find out if they are eligible to request a smart meter. You and your employees will find it easier to become more consciously aware of energy use if you can instantly see the live data, via a smart meter. Having a meter also makes the billing process quicker, simpler and more accurate too. You may also consider investing in submeters which allow you to see energy use in specific areas of the business e.g. kitchens, bedrooms.


    Timers, sensors, thermostats, heat controllers and standby savers can all help save energy and money. They also mean you don’t have to compromise on customers’ comfort as you can maintain adequate heating and lighting levels when and where needed, avoiding wasted energy use. If you haven’t already done so, swap light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs too. For those businesses wanting to go even further, a Building Energy Management System can help track and control heating, air conditioning and ventilation - with live information - allowing you to make necessary adjustments to settings at any time.


    It sounds simple but turning off appliances when they are not in use, really can make a difference. This also means not leaving equipment on standby. The average household wastes £65 a year powering appliances left on standby. Computers, televisions, lights, broadband modems and routers all use low levels of electricity when not being used. Use signage and messages to try and encourage guests and employees to turn off electric appliances.


    Be aware of high consuming appliances – energy guzzlers – vending machines, electric heaters and tumble dryers for example. Next time you need to purchase a new electric appliance, be sure to check and make sure you are buying the most energy efficient model you can. These will be marked with a Class A rating. Find out more about energy labels here.


    An energy company or green tariff that uses 100% renewable energy is highly recommended and is one of the easiest ways to reduce your emissions. It also helps send a clear message to energy companies and governments that the demand for renewables is growing. You need to choose an option that is right for you and your business. Have a look at Good Energy, GEUK and Ecotricity. You can also use Big Clean Switch, an energy comparison website, specialising in renewable energy that helps you find the best deal, for your business and the planet.


    Installing solar panels, a heat pump or a wind turbine is the ultimate dream in self-sufficiency and renewable energy. If the initial cost outlay puts you off, could you talk to your neighbouring businesses about collaborating and sharing the energy? Battery storage is more expensive to purchase initially but it would allow you to store the energy and use it later, improving the financial returns in the long run. You may also be eligible for tax breaks.

    See the Energy Saving Trust and Zero Carbon Business for further advice.

As you begin to achieve your reduction goals, celebrate and share your progress with your customers and employees. As long as you are backing up your achievements with tangible examples or evidence, you’ll find others rally for you and want to support you, whether it is on social media, through email marketing or other forms of communication. You’ll also help influence and inspire others to act.


Funding and support


Net Zero Business Support


Further tips and information


Read more tips and information on how to become a more sustainable business in our Impacts Resources Hub.

If you’d like to showcase your business's impact on sustainability in Hertfordshire, sign up as one of our Impact Heroes.

If you have taken action to be more sustainable in your business, we’d love to hear more. Please get in touch with enquiries@visitherts.co.uk