PTAC units are putting an increased focus on energy efficiency.

PTAC units are putting an increased focus on energy efficiency.Pictured: PTAC units are putting an increased focus on energy efficiency.

Making hotels sustainable is becoming increasingly important to a hotel’s positioning and its bottom line, and PTAC units are contributing, through newer, more efficient models.

New PTACs have the ability to connect to a third-party thermostat with an occupancy sensor, which allows the unit to accommodate a field-installed door switch or occupancy sensor to manage the energy used, said Lorie Quillin-Bell, go-to-market director, LG Electronics USA Commercial Air Conditioning.

“This energy-efficiency technique results in significantly lower energy consumption levels within the hotel, helping owners save money on utility bills,” said Quillin-Bell. Interfacing with a property’s energy-management system, as well as the addition of an energy saving mode for the PTAC unit, can offer more savings.

“You’re seeing a lot more energy-management controls in smaller properties,” said Douglas Mackemer, national director of parts, supplies and specialized equipment at Carrier Enterprise. “If a room’s not slated to be rented, the unit can be shut off or set back to optimize the dollar cost savings for the hotelier.”

New PTAC unit designs can also boost efficiency. “We’ve enlarged the surface area of the coil to allow for better dehumidification,” said Mackemer. “A greater surface area allows more energy transfer to occur. We call it unloading the coil.” Additionally, changes in the fan motor and fan design can also move air more efficiently and with less energy.

Being able to measure a PTAC’s energy cost, and by extension its contribution to any energy savings on the property, is also important, said Barry Bookout, national manager for lodging and specialty products at Friedrich Air Conditioning Co.

“It’s not enough to just build a high efficiency air conditioning product,” said Bookout. “Owners and engineers want the tools to be able to measure, verify and, when necessary, modify the energy usage in their hotels, all while maintaining optimum guest comfort.”

Newer, more efficient PTAC units can provide a good balance of performance and total cost, said Bookout. “PTACs have a relatively low cost of ownership [this is upfront equipment cost, cost of installation, operating cost, cost of maintenance, and the product’s lifespan], but overall performance is comparable to some larger, more complex and expensive systems,” Bookout said. “Efficiencies, sound levels and energy-management capabilities are improving every year.”