Hotels save on energy with in-room tech
Hotels save on energy with in-room tech
08 MAY 2019 10:06 AM

Hotels focused on energy conservation in guestrooms have turned to methods such as LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances and predictive tools that use machine-learning algorithms to save on energy. 

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Energy-saving technology in hotel guestrooms ranges from traditional methods such as LED lights to more advanced solutions.

At Hilton, software-based energy management solutions and network guestroom controls have been implemented to manage and reduce energy consumption in guestrooms, Daniella Foster, senior director of corporate responsibility at Hilton, said via email.

“For example, many hotels have linked their networked guestroom HVAC systems to their booking systems, so if a room is unoccupied it automatically reverts to an energy-efficient temperature set point,” she said. “Rooms also use occupancy sensors: RFID guestroom door locks sync wirelessly with control systems, including lighting and thermostats, to drive both guest comfort and energy efficiency.”

The Hilton Austin and the Conrad New York are two examples of hotels that have seen significant savings from the energy-management system, she said.

Hilton is also rolling out its Connected Room technology at hotels, allowing guests to adjust the air conditioning and heating based on their schedule, which “helps hotel operators manage energy consumption in real time,” Foster said. Guests can “power down devices such as TV, HVAC and lights when a room is unoccupied, dramatically reducing energy consumption,” she said.

The company also uses a LightStay program, which “predicts each hotel’s energy, water and waste usage and costs, and tracks actual consumption against these predictive models” using a machine-learning algorithm, Foster said. Hilton uses the technology to manage performance against peers and against energy consumption in prior years.

The technology also gives hoteliers “tips based on their specific sustainability attributes and a projects library to assist hotel operators with implementing new sustainability-related projects,” she said.

“Hotels also use LightStay to track and report their social impact performance, such as volunteer projects and donations,” she said. “Hilton has saved over $1 billion in operation costs. This was achieved by reducing carbon emissions and waste by 31% and energy and water consumption by 22%.”

Soneva, a company with resorts in the Maldives, conserves in-room energy at its properties through LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances and inverter air conditioners, Arnfinn Oines, social and environmental conscience for Soneva, said via email.

Resorts also limit the amount of air-conditioned space on property, he said. Air conditioning is primarily used in the guestrooms, “whereas a lot of the space used during the day is using natural ventilation and fans,” he said.

Soneva is also in the process of increasing its renewable energy capacity to run on 100% clean energy during the day at two of its properties, Oines said.

“We have installed 700kWp solar PV at Soneva Fushi and are currently investing in 2MW solar PV plus 3MW battery storage for both Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani,” he said.

InterContinental Hotels Group has its IHG Green Engage system, which is a group-wide standard that provides its hotels more than 200 green solutions to manage and report the use of energy, carbon, water and waste to minimize utility costs and environmental impact, Lindsay Wilkinson, director of corporate responsibility—environment and commercial integration at IHG, said via email.

In-room energy-saving solutions offered through the platform include motion and daylight sensors for light, heating and air conditioning, she said.

“In addition, we continue to encourage our hotels to take straightforward steps that can have a considerable impact on energy efficiency. For instance, we know that lighting accounts for 25% to 40% of a property’s energy use, so simply installing LED lighting in rooms and common areas can be a low-cost, high-impact action to drive efficiency,” she said. “Similarly, proper PTAC maintenance can help bring down energy costs while also helping to improve guest experience by improving efficiency and minimizing any noise-related disturbances.”

Cayuga Collection
Hotel under Cayuga Collection try to go the low-tech route by designing rooms where air conditioning isn’t needed, Hans Pfister, president and co-founder of Cayuga Collection, said via email.

If a hotel guestroom does have air conditioning, he said, it is very well maintained and uses “new and green technology.”

To keep HVAC costs under control at hotels that have air conditioning, LED lighting is utilized, and housekeepers lower the AC to “about 24 centigrade instead of 17” when cleaning the rooms, Pfister said. “That keeps the room reasonably cool but does not waste much energy,” he said.

He added that all water at Cayuga properties is heated by solar panels, which also saves on energy consumption. 

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