Travelodge, the UK’s first branded budget hotel chain which operates over 560 UK hotels (over 38,000 hotel rooms), welcomes 19 million customers annually and employs 12,000 staff.

Travelodge logo

We have worked closely with this client since 2015, monitoring, auditing and managing their energy usage. Through this relationship, and through implementation of the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme, we were able to flag lighting as 26% of hotel energy use, the second largest aspect, and make a recommendation to address this through the dual approach of controls and LEDs.

The project was a finalist for Business Green Energy Efficiency Project of the Year Award 2019.

LED Lighting & Controls

The light-emitting diode (LED) is one of today’s most energy-efficient lighting technologies. Quality LED bulbs use around 75% less energy, and last 25 times longer, than traditional incandescent lighting. Managing LED lighting with smart controls and sensors not only enhances the lighting experience, it helps to save energy and cut carbon by using light when and where it is needed most.

The Project

Following our identification of energy efficient measures under the government’s Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS), we then recommended a trial for an LED retrofit which commenced in November 2017 at a selection of hotels that best reflected the hotel chain’s overall portfolio.  Full-scale rollout commenced in March 2018, and by July 2020, the project was completed with installations across a total of 388 Travelodge sites.

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Our Services

  • We have drawn upon on a range of internal expertise to design a set of lighting and control principles which enabled scaled rollout across 388 sites around the UK.
  • These principles cover the full range of challenges which could be encountered from existing building fabric and lighting layouts, to variations in footfall and existing light levels. In addition to the building principles, logistical considerations of waste removal and material storage were a key element in delivering a seamless guest experience.
  • We pulled together a cross set of infrastructure and engineering design, customer utilisation data, and our knowledge of energy efficiency to ensure the best possible solution for time, cost and quality far in excess of building standards.
  • This platform approach enables unprecedented streamlining of the infrastructure design and implementation at scale, negating the need to custom design systems across the 388 sites.
  • Our unique knowledge of energy use across our turnkey services and longstanding relationship with the hotel enable us to fluidly move from remote modelling of site need, to auditing this against a sample of sites, to delivering a scaled solution.


  • Converted and older buildings with missing or incorrect electrical infrastructure mapping could have slowed progress and had to be compensated for, requiring an agile deployment approach.
  • Communication has been key at all stages of this project, and we have been vigilant in ensuring our dedication of resource and selection of subcontractors reflected this requirement.
  • Not only did we need to maintain guest experience in a live hotel environment, our deployment schedule had to be flexible around key local events such as Christmas Markets, Fringe Festival, and university graduation days.
  • Overcame logistical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the implementation of strict new health and safety processes on site and during installation works.

Successful Outcomes

Completed in July 2020, the project is expected to deliver the client savings of more than:

  • 4000 tonnes CO2e per year
  • 15.9 million kWh per year
  • £2.97 million per year 

With £4.44m of savings delivered during the project implementation period itself, recurring cost savings will ensure that the total cost of project delivery will be regained just 20 months after project completion (or just over 4 years since the project began).

The success of the project is now leading to other opportunities for capital projects to deliver further energy and carbon savings across the customer’s estate. This includes a heating controls scheme that is currently underway across the Travelodge estate, with the business case for others (including battery storage) in development.


Utilising a rigorous planning process that brings together tangible insight into energy efficiency, practical implementation and real-to-life use has been central to delivering excellent quality solutions at scale.

The ability to demonstrate the credibility of energy efficiency through real-time savings tracking propels this project beyond the conventional approach of ‘conceptual savings’ usually used within the energy efficiency sector.

Wider benefits

In addition to the financial and carbon reduction benefits, the hotel chain has been able to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability to staff and customers by the visual impact of LED and control systems.

We have also been able to work closely with Philips to return old light fittings for potential reuse or recycling, helping to achieve their circular economy targets and in line with the UN en.lighten initiative. It is estimated there is a total of over 45,000 hotels in the UK, and if all these businesses were to conduct similar projects, the UK would reduce electricity consumption by 1.4 billion kWh per year.

Customer Appraisal

SMS has been instrumental in helping us to deliver an integrated energy and carbon reduction strategy across our UK estate of hotels, implementing the rollout of LED lighting and smart controls at 388 of our sites.

This project was complex and had many logistical and infrastructural challenges, but SMS’s expertise in energy project management and system design helped us overcome them to deliver the project on time and on budget. This initiative has allowed us to reap the benefits, reducing our utility bill by £3 million per year.

Peter Litster
Director of Risk and Compliance, Travelodge Hotels Ltd

Our Energy Services

Through our Energy Services division, we help business energy users gain valuable insight into their consumption and identify real energy saving opportunities. By offering the resources, management and funding to deliver these opportunities, we assist organisations with the introduction of flexibility and low-carbon energy technologies that boost operational sustainability.

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