Whitbread is to spend over £7m this year on a sustainability programme to boost the environmental performance of its pub restaurants, hotels and coffee shops, writes Jo Bruce. The focus of the investment is on Whitbread's existing estate of 2,000 sites, which includes pub restaurant brands Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns. The programme will see £2.6m invested in low-energy LED light bulbs. Other measures include thermal building insulation, automated lighting systems, bathroom tap restrictors and dual flush toilets, Chief executive Alan Parker, who retires from Whitbread this week after 18 years, said the company had achieved a 7% reduction in carbon emissions in the past year, with a target of 26% by 2020. The company has also hit its target of a 20% reduction in water consumption. Whitbread is also now serving Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee in all site and offering recyclable coffee cups in Costa sites. Parker today officially opened the company's purpose-built "green" Acorn Beefeater Grill & Premier Inn in in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. Whitbread aims for this site to deliver a 70% carbon saving and a 60% water saving versus a similar size hotel and restaurant. The build cost is 10% more. The 60 bedroom and 220-cover restaurant features rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling which provides all the hotel's toilet water and 20% of the hotel's entire water use; battery operated lifts; ground source heat pumps using natural energy to provide heating, cooling and hot water; low flow shower heads and light sensors which turn them off when not in use. The company will open another 3,500 hotel rooms next year. For all-new build hotels, the company is proposing a roll-out of 24 changes to specification to incorporate sustainable construction approaches. Premier Inn is also to launch a journey plotter function on their website which calculates the carbon footprint of a guests journey to a hotel.