The Lamington Group is a 55-year-old group of companies that owns and operates around 14000 of real estate across a multitude of brands. These brands include room2, room2lite, Missionworks, Lamington Lettings, Lamington Apartments and Lamington Developments. It all started when Stuart Godwin Senior developed a small house belonging to his parents in 1967. The family business expanded when they started to conquer the residential market, specifically the extended stay market, which is the sector that the two brothers Robert Godwin and Stuart Godwin Junior are currently focusing on.
The 2019 Catalyst:
Being a business with an appetite for continued innovation and high-quality accommodations, they developed a passion for sustainability over the years. The tipping point for change was in 2019 when Robert Godwin, the Managing Director of Lamington Group, went on holiday to South Africa. He saw the devastating impact of climate change first hand on nature and civilisations, such as the extreme drought and the extinction of endangered species. From that moment on, he knew he couldn’t run a business which would worsen the crisis. Robert Godwin was aware that buildings account for 40% of global carbon emissions and the hotel industry has low environmental standards and is lagging behind in making progress to address the climate crisis.
Lamington Group wanted to lead the change and be part of the solution, and therefore shifted to take urgent action.
Their Stated Objectives:
Lamington Group uses the framework One Planet Living by Bioregional, to ensure a holistic approach to sustainability by covering 10 principles. Their objectives are split under three main categories – People, Planet, and Place. They wanted to ensure a lasting legacy of positive environmental, social and economic impacts.
In 2021 the Group published their roadmap to net zero by 2030. This was a ground-breaking commitment as it addresses three principals:
1. to cover their existing and future portfolio;
2. to address operational carbon (i.e. the net carbon emissions associated with energy and water will equal zero on an annual basis for all new room2 hometels
3. to address embodied carbon for all new hometels (i.e. the net carbon emissions associated with the production and construction of their hotels, the materials which goes into them, the maintenance and refurbishment, and their deconstruction and disposal at their end-of-life).
They also have committed to achieve net zero carbon for scope 1 and scope 2 by 2030 by reducing emissions by 46% from the 2019 baseline, using the 1.5°C science-based target. As well as to track and minimise scope 3 emissions. Other targets include communications and collaborations, innovations, ownership, green finance and carbon accounting. Despite these stretched goals, the Lamington Group continued to have large growth aspirations, targeting 5000 room2 hometel keys by 2030. The majority of their current focus is on the reduction of carbon in existing and future buildings, before expanding to other businesses in order to ensure they obtain the greatest impact in their core business.
Actions And Initiatives Taken By Sector:
- Low carbon construction methods and materials. Purchasing 100% renewable energy during construction and in-use.
- Handcrafted pieces from a range of local artists, designers and skilled craftsmen for room and hometel designs. There are 8 handcrafted items per room in room2 Chiswick approximately.
- Handcrafted items include mirrors; door numbers, lampshades; chandeliers; bits and boxes (sewing kits…); tiles in the bathroom; prints in every room/hotel are hand designed.
- Installed solar panels on the roof of room2 Chiswick, which produces 12000 kW/h annually. This represents around 5% of the building’s energy consumption.
- The hot water heating and cooling systems come from a ground source heat pumps: this system is very energy efficient and reduces energy demand compared to more traditional systems
- The roof of room2 Chiswick is now covered in greenery to boost biodiversity.
- Committed to only build whole life net zero hotels going forwards.
- Encourage tenants to switch to renewable energy.
- Two 2 lab rooms were built in room2 Chiswick, which measure
- the water and energy consumption and the air quality, in order to get a better understanding of guest consumptions and taking action.
- The post-construction embodied carbon emission target is <500 kgC02e/.2 (Although Chiswick didn’t meet this at 765 kg/co2e.)
- All rooms are occupancy enabled: the lighting and heating switches off automatically when there is no one in the room.
- They installed a low heat hot water system at room2 Chiswick, which reduces the energy use by 9%: traditionally, heaters are 60 to 65°C but
- in this case, they are at 45°C because of chlorine dioxide.
- Using circular economy principles and will carry out lifecycle carbon assessments.
- Room2 Southampton piloted food waste and mixed recycling as a new guest service in march 2021.
- Zero waste: general waste is made into energy and food waste is composted with an onsite composter at room2 Chiswick.
- Emissions which cannot be eliminated will be offset with the purchase of verified carbon offsets. They are currently working with
- ClimatePartner to offset their emissions through two afforestation projects. They offset 2448 tons of C02 in room2 Chiswick, which is
- equal to the amount of carbon emissions for 445 homes using electricity in a year. The Lamington Group is currently looking for offsetting projects in the UK.
- Robert Godwin implemented his first sustainability team in 2020.
- Report average annual carbon content of heat.
- Room2 net zero building specifications were adopted for all new developments in July 2021.
- Lamington Group published its Net Zero Carbon Roadmap in September 2021.
- Team planet was launched in 2021: everyone in the business became accountable for sustainability. Lamington Group grants “points” to
- employees for each sustainable choice that they make in their work and in their personal life. The employees with the most points get a financial
- reward at the end of the process.
The below table shows the annual carbon emissions in tC02e and the EUI in kWh/m2 planned evolutions for room2 Hammersmith after 3 different initiatives.
Source: The Lamington Group’s roadmap
Since their passion for sustainability, Lamington Group has seen many changes in recruitments, guests, and cost of energy. In particular, they have noticed an increased interest by their employees (current and prospective) on their sustainability values.
The graph below illustrates Lamington Group’s employee commuting between 2019 and 2020.
Source: The Lamington Group’s roadmap
At first, Lamington Group’s sustainability efforts were not always noticed by guests. However, once they resided in the hotels, they became aware of the sustainability initiatives of the group. Melisa Gooding, Sustainability Officer for the Lamington Group, stated: « Our research found that sustainability didn’t always affect their choice to stay there but when they stayed, they appreciated it more than they would have thought, sparking an interest in sustainability. »
What is most admirable about the Lamington Group is that their initiatives are much greater than the size of their company. Many large hotel corporations can learn from these innovations, and I hope that this case study will provide the opportunity for others within the industry to learn and follow the leadership example of companies like Lamington Group.
With all these strategies and impressive targets, the Lamington Group has successfully received sustainability certifications: their EPC is rated A (it calculates their energy efficiency), room2 chiswick is certified BREEAM “excellent”. BREEAM is the world’s leading science-based suite of validation systems for sustainable built environments. They are reaching for the ultimate BREEAM “outstanding” certification. Moreover, room2 Southampton and Chiswick are certified gold by Green Tourism. By following their initiatives, the Lamington Group are the owners of the world’s first whole life net zero hometel, room2 Chiswick. All of the emissions from conception through to end-of-life have been reduced and rebalanced to zero.
If no actions were taken, their projected growth plan would result in a 1983% increase in their scope1 and scope 2 emissions. However, through their plan, the Lamington Group is ensuring that the continued growth will align with GHG emission targets, whilst reducing absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions by more than 46% over the 2019 baseline. They have made impressive improvements since 2019: whilst their carbon emissions in 2019 were 3358 tC02e, they were equal to 1962 tC02e in 2020. However, it is difficult to separate the impact of Covid-19 on these numbers and their true emission reductions.
(Case Study by Eleonor Zok, Intern at the EEA)