How to simplify energy efficiency in hotels

This article is the final part of a three-part series on energy management.

Many hotels have been able to complete their energy efficiency upgrades through partnerships, rebates and incentives from local, state and federal governments along with power companies. Late last year, the Energy Department announced $9 million to encourage investments in energy-saving technologies that can be tested and deployed in hotels and other types of commercial buildings.

Mike Hardin, VP of asset management for Apple REIT Companies, makes a point to choose energy efficiency upgrades to hotels that have rebates available to the hotel. “We investigate all the things we can do to lower the overall costs so we can do as many upgrades to as many hotels as possible in a year,” he said.

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Hardin uses a third-party utility consultant, which brings the utilities upgrade opportunities directly to him. “Things like solar opportunities, ozone laundry systems, and they constantly review all the utilities for us,” he said. “They will correct bills and notice where we may have leaks or broken meters. It saves us money and stops any bleeding as quickly as possible. It’s definitely worth the relatively low-cost expense that I highly recommend.”

The MainStay Suites and Sleep Inn in Wilmington, N.C., was recently able to upgrade its outdoor parking lot lighting with a rebate and incentive from the local power company, said Mike Prevatte, owner of Wilmington Development. This was a move that Prevatte expects to see significant savings in, especially when the hotel reaches its peak April to September season.

The Phoenician, a Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., partnered with NRG Energy, Inc. to integrate clean sustainable energy at the resort with approximately 2,000 photovoltaic solar panels. The installation will offset a portion of the resort’s energy demand and this project is the first of several between NRG and Starwood. The partnership will also incorporate solar installations at The Westin St. John Resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands and The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka‘anapali. Together, all three installations are expected to provide more than 2 megawatts (MWdc) of solar power.

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