Reducing Energy Consumption in the Mini-City Infrastructure of a Hotel

Like New York City, a hotel never sleeps. Indeed, a hotel is like a mini-city, with amenities and services in flow 24/7. The energy use is enormous, helping to light, heat, keep cool, and operate guest rooms, lobbies, restaurants, kitchens, laundries, offices, lounges and banquet facilities, gyms, swimming pools, leisure facilities, and more.

This high energy use also means that hospitality companies that own and operate hotels have a massive opportunity for energy-efficient hotel design to reduce cost and carbon footprint.

In this article, we look at eight things that should be considered in the planning and design stage when constructing, remodeling, or upgrading a hotel. Things that will have a direct impact on the energy efficiency of the hotel during a lifetime of operation.

  1. Employ smart systems

Energy management systems help to maximize cost savings and minimize energy use. Today’s smart systems monitor for movement, and employ AI and machine learning to adapt output:

  • Smart Climate Control

There are many tools that can help to reduce energy consumption while providing maximum comfort to guests. These include smart thermostats that enable programming of energy use according to occupancy and sensors that monitor for changes in occupancy.

  • Smart Lighting Technology

Smart lighting technologies automate lighting and memorize usage to adapt over time. This type of technology also enables hoteliers to track lighting use and improve consumption in high-use periods or areas.

  1. LED and LEED

Replacing ordinary lamps with LED lighting will reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. LED (light-emitting diodes) use around 90% less electricity, though you may also consider linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs).

You may also work toward achieving LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to validate green hotel credentials, which may include:

  • Architectural daylighting

  • Using locally sourced materials in construction

  • Incorporating solar power

  • Using water management systems

  • Installing high-energy efficiency appliances

  • Planting to decrease HVAC use

  1. High-grade HVAC

The latest HVAC technology provides many opportunities to reduce energy consumption. For example, air-source heat pumps can transfer heat in and out of a building, thus allowing them to be used for energy-efficient cooling and heating, and reducing strain on HVAC systems.

  1. Architectural daylighting and insulation

Windows and walls play an important part in the energy efficiency of a hotel. Wall insulation and double-glazed windows will help to regulate the internal climate, improve comfort for guests, and reduce energy consumption in doing so.

This brings us to architectural daylighting: bringing the daylight into the hotel by the intelligent design of space and incorporation of skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows, and reflective surfaces to maximize daylight and eliminate the need for electric lighting during daylight hours.

Along with proper wall insulation, you can also introduce double-glazed windows that will keep the rooms warm during winter and cool during the hot summer months more efficiently. Mind you, this solution might not be the cheapest one, but it is a smart investment for the future.

  1. Solar Panel Technology

Hotels can install solar power to generate their own electricity. This can reduce energy costs, and any excess electricity can be sold to the grid. It’s a double whammy of energy production benefits.

  1. Shut down standby appliances

Hotels waste a lot of energy on electric appliances and devices that spend most of their time in ‘standby mode’. This unnecessary consumption can be eliminated by installing automatic shutdown sockets and cutting off power when rooms are unoccupied or the device is not in use.

  1. Energy-efficient design of systems that use electric

We can reduce energy consumption during the operation phase of a hotel by designing and installing high-efficiency electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems at the outset or during remodeling. For example, incorporating variable refrigerant flow to connect a single outdoor unit to multiple units indoors helps to regulate and reduce energy use by heating and cooling individual areas of the hotel.

  1. Design energy-efficient kitchens

One of the highest energy consumers in a hotel, the kitchen should not be overlooked during the design of an energy-efficient hotel. As well as incorporating energy efficiency elements that we have discussed above, hotel operators should also install energy-efficient appliances and programmable/monitored software to regulate energy use.

Energy-efficient hotel design is becoming increasingly crucial. The world’s resources are depleting, and energy costs are rising. Eco-tourism is growing rapidly, and people are actively seeking to stay in sustainable, low-energy-use hotels.

Incorporating the eight elements we have discussed here in the design and construction of a hotel will help you to reduce costs and your carbon footprint while improving your competitiveness in an increasingly environmentally-conscious world.

Are you seeking to deliver a competitive, low-carbon footprint, and attractive experience to your guests? Whether you are constructing a new hotel or remodeling your existing stock, contact ACB Consulting. We deliver results because we care about our community, our clients, and the world.

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