Hotel operators gain more control of PTACs

This article is the final part of a two-part series on connectivity. Click here for part one.

Hotel operators have many more options to manage and control their packaged terminal air conditioners than before, said Barry Bookout, director of sales for the lodging and specialty markets division of Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. Manufacturers are rolling out energy-management systems for PTACs now because energy usage has increased dramatically in the last five years, he said. PTACs can now be controlled by the front desk and room occupancy controls.

“If the sliding glass door is left open, the unit will shut off so it is not running full blast,” said Douglas Mackemer, national director of parts, suppliers and specialized equipment for Carrier Enterprise. “It’s giving the desired control back to the property owner. Prior to this, it was left untouched—just left to housekeeping whenever they got to the room.”

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Energy-management systems, including Carrier Enterprise’s systems, can interconnect with exhaust fans and other systems, allowing hotels to retrofit guest rooms.

“It’s a win-win for hoteliers because that money from the initial investment comes back,” Mackemer said.

 “The evolution of guestrooms is now the integrated control platforms,” said Kevin McNamara, vice president of air conditioning systems for LG Electronics USA. “There are simpler-to-use and easier guest interfaces that will be even easier to use as the technology advances.”

Unit performance and energy usage can be monitored anywhere via web-based control and monitoring. Being able to gather more data on energy performance from a PTAC is highly beneficial for the hotelier looking to save money, McNamara said.

Many hotels are going with a wireless energy-management control system so it’s easy to integrate with the PTAC, said Richard Nuss, vice president of Islandaire. The wall thermostat wireless connects to the PTAC. Islandaire also is working with control companies like Inncom and Honeywell to integrate controls directly into the PTAC at the time of production.

“We’re just trying to make it as simple as possible,” he said.