Energy efficiency should be a key concern for all hotels. Spiralling electricity prices have started to cost the industry more and more over the years. As hotels continue to find profit margins squeezed, looking for ways to reduce unnecessary wastage is paramount.
On average, guestrooms account for 90% of wasted electricity usage. Of this, the biggest drain by far comes from the Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, which typically uses between 70% – 90% of the energy consumption.
If this system isn’t managed effectively, it can play a huge part in soaring energy bills.
How Do Guest Rooms “Waste” Energy?
Electricity is most commonly wasted when the HVAC is left on when a guest isn’t in the room.
“What about the keycard?” I hear you ask. Typically most guests know how to cheat the key card system and either ask for or get offered two keycards when they check in to a hotel. When they decide to leave their room, they often leave one of the cards connected so the HVAC system remains in use while they’re out — needlessly using electricity and costing the hotel money. Even the newer RFID cards don’t help with this problem.
If your guests are heading out for a day of sightseeing, that’s a whole day’s worth of wasted energy. Consider how many guests are doing this and the annual costs can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.
Much of this wastage and expenditure is needless, but also preventable.
Energy Efficiency: an Intelligent Solution
To save energy hotels could remind guests to remove their keycard every time they leave their room, but this isn’t exactly an ideal option. Many people might simply forget and, in any case, the burden of energy efficiency really rests with the hotel, not the guest.
The answer to saving energy requires a technological solution. One that’s built on intelligent automation and doesn’t rely on the guest having to do anything.
That’s where automated solutions like the ECOSYSTEM can help. It can be programmed to “turn off” or “set back” the HVAC system when the room is unoccupied. As a result, hotels can expect to save anywhere between 25% and 40% on their HVAC costs. Automated solutions also increase the HVAC lifespan by reducing its overall usage.
Crucially, none of this impacts the comfort of guests because the system only kicks in when they aren’t in their room. In fact, the system enhances the guest experience, because when they open the door the lights and the HVAC turn on automatically. Much more elegant than having to put a key card in the slot to enable power!
How Does an Automated Solution Work?
Guests remain in full control of the HVAC system when they’re in their room. However, as soon as they leave, a micro door sensor tells the system that someone may have left.
At this point, an infrared motion detector sweeps the room for the next 20 mins (duration set by property) to check it has definitely been vacated. If no movement is detected, the system switches to “unoccupied” mode. It then either turns off the HVAC system or adjusts it to a temperature pre-set by the hotel.
These systems also come with a range of other intelligent modes. These include a Housekeeping Mode that can be set to automatically turn off the HVAC operation if the main guest room door is left open while Housekeeping are cleaning the room.
When the room is unoccupied, the system can also turn on the HVAC for 15 minutes every two hours so the air is circulated. This keeps the room feeling fresh and well-ventilated for the guest, and it also prolongs the life of the room furniture by preventing the build-up of mildew.
Cut Costs with In-room Energy Management
The guest room may be your property’s most unmanaged energy resource and can lead to a serious drain on your profits.
As costs rise, an automated solution such as ECOSYSTEM can offset a big chunk of this energy waste. It effectively puts you in control by automatically turning off or setting back the HVAC system when the guest isn’t in their room.
Over the months and years, an automated solution can save you thousands of dollars — as well as preserving the life of your HVAC. In addition, it can add to your brand perception. By promoting your energy efficient credentials, you’ll be appealing to the growing numbers of socially conscious guests.
With regards to keycards, it’s still early days but as more and more hotels move to mobile keys, where the guest smartphone acts as a virtual key, a guest won’t have a physical key card to insert in the keycard slot.