How design impacts energy savings

This article is part two of a three-part series on energy management. Look to next Tuesday’s technology news for the final part.

Hotel lighting is accountable for a significant percentage of energy usage and something that impacts guests’ perceptions of a space. Lighting is a great place for hoteliers to look when contemplating changes that might benefit guests and the bottom line.

Ross Burch, project director at design company Wilson Associates Dallas, said the biggest impact designers can make in increasing a hotel’s energy efficiency, is in the lighting choices.

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“Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting has become a huge component and part of our specifications,” he said. “They have a longer life and use less energy. They require less manpower to replace when the time comes. We now use LED lighting in everything from desk lights, bedside lamps to huge light installations across the hotel.”

While LEDs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, these lamps can often pay for themselves through energy and maintenance savings. Most light fixtures can accommodate some form of LED or CFL lamp, making it simple for hoteliers to save on energy and maintenance costs. Robert Attaway, director of engineering for thee Westin Buckhead Atlanta, said his hotel now exclusively uses LED lighting throughout the property.

Many hotel operators now have a green initiative with standards that they require within design. “This is so fantastic to see, because in the past we as designers were required to take the lead on incorporating energy saving techniques wherever we could, and now operators are issuing those standards to us,” Burch said. “Products like keycards that shut off light and A/C when you leave the room, dimmers, electric shade and LED lights all make a huge impact.”