What's next for energy management?

This article is part three in a three-part series on energy management.

2014 could bring an even wider variety of devices that tie into energy management systems, said Douglas Mackemer, director of parts, supplies and specialized equipment at Carrier Enterprise.

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“Initially, it was how do we turn equipment on and off,” Mackemer said. “Now it’s expanding beyond heating and cooling to lighting, TV, fans and much more, and as developers get creative enough, they’ll find further opportunities to combine the system with higher-efficiency equipment being developed in the marketplace.”

“We’re seeing increased popularity in electronic lock —– EMS interfaces,” said Alastair Cush, director of product marketing at Kaba Lodging.

Door locks are also showing a greater focus on sustainability as lock manufacturers are looking at ways to make keycards out of more environmentally friendly materials or reusable. As locks move toward RFID, the cards are becoming more expensive, meaning that this can also be a cost-saving measure.

Guestroom controls are another tie-in manufacturers are exploring. Offering guestroom controls with an energy management system can satisfy guest expectations, said Chris Pieper, director, sales and marketing at Evolve Guest Controls.

“Guests at home are doing everything on their smartphone, from banking to their alarm system,” Pieper said. “So when they go to their hotel, they feel like it should be a step above to act as a differentiator.”

That experience factor and cost savings look to continue to drive interest in energy management in 2014.

“With operating expenses showing no signs of decreasing, the practice of pursuing sustainable practices will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity throughout 2014 and beyond,” said Bill Oliver, president, North America of VingCard Elsafe.

Looking even farther ahead, energy management systems and guestroom controls will not remain exclusive to luxury brands, said Pieper.

“Maybe not in 2014, but in 2015 or 2016, you’re going to start to see things from a brand like Ritz Carlton in a brand like Hampton Inn,” Pieper said, comparing the process to guestroom tablets. When tablets first started appearing in guestrooms, they were only in ultra-luxury hotels, but over time they have become more affordable.

“What’s viewed as elite technology trickles down to more modest brands,” Pieper said.