Financial savings drive energy-management implementation

This article is part two of a three-part series on energy management. Part one can be found here.

As energy costs rise, savings are brought to the forefront of hoteliers’ minds. Hotel operators are business owners first, so they should be constantly looking for ways to save money, said Michael Serour, Verdant Environmental Technologies’ VP of sales. “Since energy is the second biggest hotel expense, operators need energy-management automation to ensure their costs are low and profits are high,” he said.

While financial goals are a huge driver, social issues are also driving the energy-management trend, said William Fizer, president of Lodging Technology. “If ABC Hotel is advertising itself as a ‘green’ hotel, it is seen as more socially acceptable than another ‘non-green’ hotel down the street,” he said. Fizer sees solar and wind energy as not being feasible until hotels are really able to benefit from those sources.

When tying in additional automation such as switches and plug loads, hoteliers can not only increase efficiency but also add experience features such as bedside lamps that turn on when occupancy is detected. Many hotels will simply unplug in-room refrigerators, said Chad Burow, director of sales and marketing for Telkonet. “Automating them improves guest experience while managing energy consumption simultaneously.”

The ability to provide in-room features that enhance the guest experience while reducing energy costs is a win-win for all hotels, Burow continued. “It is important to consider energy management and guestroom automation on an enterprise level, meaning what can be done across an entire portfolio,” he said. “Many ownership groups we work with will look at their entire portfolio, and we will consult with them on considerations relative to high utility rate areas, where energy incentives and rebates are the most attractive and help them develop a game plan across the portfolio.”

Burow said it is critical to examine how saleable an energy-management and automation solution will be. How well does it play with other devices like shades or lighting systems? Can the solution start at a basic level and grow to full automation system without replacing your initial system?

Douglas Mackemer, national director with Carrier Enterprise, said municipalities can offer cost reductions or grants to help offset the costs of energy-management systems and with energy plans in general on a monthly and annual basis.