The cool way for hotels to reduce HVAC costs


A fascinating article by Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s Environmental Analyst, on remote control of heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) power usage in hotels prompted more than a few thoughts about energy efficiency programmes.

HVAC use a staggering amount of energy in hotels – they can increase a property’s consumption and associated carbon emissions by up to 100%. Heating and air conditioning can account for 60% to 80% of a hotel’s total energy costs. On the supply side, increased demand puts pressure on the local electricity grid – particularly during hot weather.

Roger Harrabin’s article hones in on the supply side and ways in which the Government are seeking to reduce demand, in this case by paying businesses to enter electricity management schemes. That’s a cost born by all of us as taxpayers but it does cut usage and carbon footprint.

But there is another and more effective way to cut HVAC energy usage, one which does not impact on the taxpayer or the hotel guest. It can reduce heating and ventilation costs by up to a third, while at the same time cutting carbon emissions. It also helps to takes the strain off the electricity grid.

The single most important piece of information needed for any HVAC solution is whether a room is occupied and the most effective way to find out is through a combination of sensors, including an entry-door monitor and one or more occupancy sensors.

Without this combination, either the system will take a long time to determine if a room is unoccupied or it must risk the occupants’ comfort while they are sleeping but the ability to achieve energy savings is lowered dramatically. Every second longer that a system takes to determine occupancy means less efficiency and dramatically-reduced savings.

Our recommended GEM Wireless HVAC solution, already widely installed in US hotels, uses the latest wireless technology to connect the micro sensors so installation is very quick – equivalent to the room being cleaned – that means rooms do not have to be taken out of service.

This also means improved guest satisfaction because they have total control while they are in the hotel room through the existing thermostat. And, unlike many key card solutions, the guest is not even aware that the system is working to save a hotel money.

We have conducted extensive research across a wide range of hotels which shows that hotel guest rooms are often empty for up to 46% of any 24-hour guest stay. During this time, hotels continue to drain cash by heating or cooling the room. Our intelligent system can be installed in under 60 minutes which means that you do not have to lose money by taking rooms out of service.

After installation, the monitors check whether the guest is in-room and, if not, they switch that room to a money-saving, energy-saving mode. The vast majority of hotels that have installed this solution are cash-flow positive from day one because the immediate energy savings are so high.

To give you an example of savings, let’s take a 200-bedroom hotel. In general, hotels have costs associated with seven months of heating and two months of cooling in any given year in a typical UK climate.

Even if we predict only two hours in a 24-hour stay when the guest is not present (when the eco mode is in operation), the typical saving would be £38,000 per year.

All our products meet the Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) specifications, allowing you to claim back 100% of your capital expenditure in Year One. We have also developed advanced financial modelling tools and comprehensive savings calculators to calculate and verify your hotel’s exact potential savings and reduced carbon footprint.

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