This week we’re continuing our investigation into how hoteliers can get more green by going green. Last week we jumped into the deep end of water conservation, and this week we’re tackling the hot topic of power plays for energy conservation.
There’s no way around it–operating 24/7, all year round uses up a lot of energy. But that creates a great opportunity to save natural resources, market your hotel to increasingly more eco-conscious travelers, and, most importantly, protect the bottom line by saving lots of money.
First things first
A great place to start is measuring and analyzing your current energy consumption. You can have a professional audit and/or use Portfolio Manager® from ENERGY STAR®. Portfolio Manager® is an online tool that helps you measure and track energy and water consumption along with greenhouse gas emissions, whether you have one commercial building or a large portfolio.
The next step is creating and implementing an energy-saving plan. The following tips will help shed some light on key power plays.
Consult with a trusted commercial solar power company to discover the best solar options for your hotel. Photovoltaic panels can be installed discreetly on rooftops or over parking structures. Solar power is also perfect for outdoor lighting fixtures, water heating, and pool heating systems. Rebates and tax incentives help ease the cost, but energy savings over the long-term also make solar upgrades worth it for many business owners.
Update appliances, lighting, and other systems
Although it was created in 2007, the ENERGY STAR® Building Upgrade Manual remains a very helpful resource. Chapter 12 is dedicated specifically to exploring practical ways hotels and motels can address and reduce energy consumption.
- Retrocommissioning – This process involves engineer analysis of your hotel to find key tune-ups that will not only improve energy efficiency but also reduce equipment downtime and maintenance costs. See pages 5-8 of the Building Upgrade Manual for more info.
- Lighting – Make as much use of natural lighting as possible. Update bulbs and fixtures, starting with most-used areas like the lobby and hallways. See pages 8-10 of the Building Upgrade Manual for more info about the best lighting options for specific areas, including compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), T8 lamps, high-intensity fluorescent lighting (HIF), and light-emitting diodes (LED).
- ENERGY STAR® Appliances – Everything from kitchen equipment to office equipment to vending machines to HVAC systems can be upgraded to ENERGY STAR® qualified equipment, which will use 25-50% less energy. As current equipment ages and becomes inefficient, replace it with this smart choice. Refer to pages 11-12 for more info.
- HVAC – Heating and cooling costs can add up to about 40% of a hotel’s energy use–it’s all about keeping guests comfortable. With ENERGY STAR® qualified equipment and help from technology, waste can be greatly reduced. For example, by linking the hotel’s energy management system to reservation and check-out systems, rooms can be automatically set to conserve AC or heating when not in use. See pages 13-17 of the manual.
- Insulation – According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, “In only one year, code-level insulation in outer walls, roofs, and floors in all North American hotels would save the equivalent energy contained in more than 1,750 tanker trucks of gasoline.” Other insulation-improving initiatives include sealing air leaks, adding window film and efficient draperies to windows, and even investigating the ROI of a green roof.
Continual maintenance and teamwork is the key to success
Luckily, modern energy management systems help you stay on top of routine maintenance with automated reminders and scheduling. Regular maintenance is crucial to energy efficiency and can help save even more money by detecting problems before they get out of hand. Simply keeping HVAC filters clean can keep your system running smoothly.
Turn your staff into energy-saving aficionados by getting everyone on board with best practices for saving energy in every department of your hotel.
If you’re motivated by competition, join business owners around the country in saving water, energy, and money by signing up for EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Battle of the Buildings.
Ready to get started with the power plays discussed in this article? Contact us to learn how we can help you start on your path toward efficient energy management and savings.
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