The Energy and Water Agency developed the GUEST (Guesthouse owners and Users Embarking on a Sustainable Transition) project in order to focus specifically on guesthouses and thus provide a more tailored approach to address energy and also water management in such premises given that their setup and management might differ from other types of collective accommodations such as hotels.

The development of the project kickstarted with focus groups involving guesthouse owners in order to evaluate their interpretation of the term sustainability and gain insight on the sector so as to design the right actions to address it. It transpired that whilst the owners strive to improve their energy and water performance, their efforts are at times watered down by guests who do not always act sustainably during their stay.

Based on this response, the Agency opted for a two-pronged approach. The Agency will be providing energy and water audits within guesthouses in order to take stock of the current situation and identify possible areas of improvement. This individual approach will also allow the possibility to hand-hold such operators in this transition by providing technical guidance, given that they do not usually have personnel with technical expertise. Furthermore this exercise would also indicate whether there are key common weaknesses in energy and water management within the sector which could be addressed through training, sector specific financial schemes or other measures.

Acknowledging that guests play an important role in the overall energy and water consumption within such premises, the Agency will address guests through welcome packs. These packs will include items which the guest can make use of during the stay. Such items will carry an energy or water awareness message which will remind the guest that everyone has a part to play in sustainability.

The Agency aims to target around 30 guesthouses in this exercise however it is expected that key improvement messages and main findings would be shared and best-practices showcased with all operators in the sector.

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