Case study: How to reduce your energy costs

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

In Hawaii, energy costs are the highest in the nation. Most properties on the islands have installed some type of energy-management system. The Whaler in Kaanapali Beach Resort on the island of Maui installed Honeywell’s Inncom Inncontrol 3 real-time hotel energy-management system in 2014. The property realized a 30.4 percent energy cost savings in the first eight months of use.

The 359-room property implemented Inncom thermostats, humidity detection and abatement, passive infrared motion sensors, door sensors on entryways and patios, and edge routers. The entire energy-management system communicates with the central Inncontrol 3 monitoring system.

“The system lets me control how each guestroom air conditioning unit is used based on occupancy sensors,” said Shawn Racoma, property chief engineer. “This is essential since our chiller is a major property energy consumer, and the biggest chiller resource user are the guestrooms.”

The Inncom system communicates with the resort’s property-management system and automatically resets temperatures to an optimum energy conservation level in vacant rooms. Inncom motion detectors and door sensors also reset thermostat settings in occupied rooms if the guest is not present. 

“We have Inncontrol 3 screen monitors that display graphs for all room temperature metrics and occupancy as well as each room’s equipment operational status,” Racoma said. “We continuously monitor energy use and system health. If a room’s temperature or fan runtime are outside of acceptable parameters, the system alerts us to correct the issue before the guest notices the problem. This equates to greater guest comfort in the hotel room.”

Door sensors are particularly valuable for Hawaiian properties and hotels in warm climates. “Many of our rooms have a hall door and a sliding patio door,” Racoma said. “If either of these doors is left open for a specific period of time, Inncontrol 3 optimizes the thermostat’s temperature so the system is not attempting to cool the island. We reduced fan runtime about 25 percent when we installed the EMS.

“An added benefit of our door sensors is increased security. When a guest door is left open for a prolonged period, the Inncontrol 3 monitor displays an alert and we notify property security.”

The resort’s PMS communicates with the EMS to ensure maximum energy savings and guest comfort. When resort rooms are unrented, Inncontrol 3 sets the temperature to approximately 80 degrees. When a guest checks in, the PMS notifies Inncom to reset the temperature.

“The system lowers the room temperature to 73 when a guest registers and room’s PMS status changes to occupied,” Racoma said. “We know that a guest takes seven to 15 minutes to reach their room. Our air condition system has the room at a comfortably cool temperature when they open the door.”