Whitbread to remove mains gas connection from across its estate

At the same time as announcing that its net zero target has been validated by the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), Whitbread, owners of hotel chain Premier Inn and restaurant brands that include Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, declared that they aim to remove all mains gas connection from their estate by 2040.

The Whitbread Net Zero Transition Plan outlines the Company’s plans to reach its carbon target, bringing its directly controlled (Scope 1 and 2 emissions) to zero by 2040.

The Plan includes a commitment to remove mains gas from its existing estate where possible, including over 800 Premier Inn hotels, using a wide range of initiatives such as the installation of air source heat pumps, solar panels, only using renewable energy and the installation of more energy efficient kitchen equipment.

The plan sets out a timeline for achieve their net zero goal:

2024: 100% existing estate audited for retrofit to net zero ‘readiness’

2026: 100% of new UK self-build developments constructed to net zero specifications • Company car fleet choice 100% EV • 100% renewable electricity purchased across entire estate

2030: Near term SBTi-validated targets to be met

2040: Net zero in Scope 1 and 2

2050: Net zero across the value chain (all Scopes)

Later this year Whitbread will open the first all-electric Premier Inn in Swindon. The five-storey 195-bedroom hotel has been designed without a connection to a natural gas supply. Instead, the hotel will be fully heated and powered by grid energy generated from renewable sources and by on-site solar.

Energy and heat recovery systems, including air-source heat pumps and a new water-heating technology from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, will also be included in the building.

Rosana Elias, Head of Sustainability, said: ‘We have been working on reducing our climate impact for a while and have successfully trialled the installation of air source heat pumps in 40 of our hotels and use solar power across over 20% of our estate.

‘We have taken a holistic approach – from how we build and operate our buildings and restaurants to how we power them through renewables, and we will work with suppliers, employees and customers to support a just transition. We want to provide sustainable and affordable accommodation and dining options, allowing our guests to make choices that align with their values without having to compromise on the product and service they receive.

‘We don’t claim to have all the answers now, but our plan will evolve over time and evolve as the technologies and policies that we rely on for success develop further.’


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