From the days of asking housekeeping to turn off the lights and HVAC to keycard switches to occupancy and door sensors, energy-management systems have rapidly evolved to benefit from integrated systems. Systems can run on a network or in the cloud and can be interfaced directly with property-management systems, allowing parameters to be set more aggressively when the room is unrented.
“The thermostats communicate directly and wirelessly to the door locks,” said John Tavares, director of business development for Inncom by Honeywell. “This produces a more accurate determination of room occupancy and allows differentiations of settings depending on whether a guest or staff member has entered the room.”
Lighting control can be integrated into the occupancy settings so lights are turned off when guests are not in the room. Motorized drapes or shades can be opened or closed depending on the season, outside temperature versus room temperature, solar exposure, and of course, occupancy status.
PMSes serve as the source of whether a room is rented or unrented and if the hotel has highly fluctuating occupancy patterns, it can also designate rooms or entire floors that should go into hibernation. It also serves as an easy way to prepare rooms for arrival without creating additional staff work. For example, when the guest checks in, the PMS can automatically send a signal to the EMS to turn on the HVAC and drive the temperature to the guest's or the hotel’s preferred temperature.
Some energy-management systems can operate completely independently of a PMS, allowing the system to make smart decisions about the room temperatures on its own, said Michael Serour, director of sales for Verdant Environmental Technologies.
A hotelier can give the guest the experience of control without relinquishing all control when the guest has power over the room-management system, said Felicite Moorman, CEO of Stratis. “Preset limits can maintain a comfortable environment without allowing extreme temperatures to be set, and worse, left,” she said. “Making the focus of the [bring your own device trend] something other than your energy-saving mechanisms, like entry/access, LED lighting control or shade control, should eliminate any feeling of restraint for the guest.”