Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels

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                                               Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels1

                                                            Adapted by Roy Johannesen2

    Energy management in hotels and motels poses                                       According to the Hospitality, Lodging and Travel
special challenges not found in other types of businesses.                         Research Foundation, Inc., of the American Hotel and
Hotels and motels are active around the clock, providing                           Motel Association, the hotel and motel industry made
a variety of services through a physical plant that                                great strides in energy conservation from 1977 to 1985.
frequently comprises more than one building.                                       (Survey of Energy and Water Use in Hotels and Motels,
    In addition to guest rooms and public areas, hotels                            1987).
and motels often maintain meeting rooms, banquet                                       Since 1985, however, little progress in energy
rooms, offices, retail shops, restaurants, lounges,                                conservation has been made. Falling energy prices have
swimming pools and service areas with ice machines,                                apparently lulled the industry into a sense of contentment
vending machines and arcade games. To support these                                concerning energy management.
areas, the facilities often include
maintenance rooms, laundries and
    These operations complicate energy
management in hotels and motels,
without even mentioning one of their
primary enegy-using variables--guests.


    Because hotels and motels provide
a service to the public, management
must be keenly aware of customers’
comfort and well-being. Accordingly,
customers are allowed to change
thermostat settings, use seemingly
unlimited quantities of hot water, leave
doors and windows open while the
cooling or heating system is running
and leave on lights when rooms are
unoccupied. All of these actions can
greatly affect a facility’s overall energy
consumption.                                            Figure 1. Opportunities for energy savings in hotels and motels.

1.   This document was published as Fact Sheet EES-70, Florida Energy Extension Service. It was adapted for Florida, with permission, from a document
     originally created by the Texas Energy Extension Service. For more information, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office.
2.   Roy Johannesen, Energy Extension Specialist, Energy Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville.

The Florida Energy Extension Service receives funding from the Florida Energy Office, Department of Community Affairs and is operated by the University
of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences through the Cooperative Extension Service. The information contained herein is the product of the
Florida Energy Extension Service and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Florida Energy Office.

        The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational
              information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, or national origin.
               Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / John T. Woeste, Dean
Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels                                                                           Page 2

     In spite of low energy prices, hotel and motel energy   room sections served by the same central energy system
costs can and should be controlled. This factsheet is        can be developed easily and displayed at the front desk.
designed to help hotel and motel operators establish and         Motels usually use through-the-wall room units. A
maintain an energy management system without                 recently developed control system (depicted in Figure 2)
infringing on the comfort, convenience and safety of         allows individual HVAC systems in each room to be
guests. Figure 1 contains a sample of the type of energy     turned on and off from the front desk. This prevents
suggestions found throughout this fact sheet.                guests or employees from leaving units on in vacant
     1. Turn off heating and cooling systems in              rooms.
         unoccupied guest rooms.
     2. Regularly check and clean filters and air-
         conditioning coils.
     3. Instruct housekeeping to use natural light when
         cleaning guest rooms and to turn off cooling
         units and close drapes when leaving rooms.
     4. Replace incandescent lamps with compact
         fluorescent lamps.
     5. Inspect and clean condenser coils on ice makers
         and vending machines.
     6. Operate pool heater only during times of pool


     Controlling energy use in guest rooms is difficult
because, to a large extent, the guests control how much
energy is used. Restrictions of their energy use may
make guests uncomfortable or resentful. It is therefore
essential that any energy management changes be made
without causing discomfort.
     In addition, when guest rooms are unoccupied, front
office personnel, housekeeping personnel and
maintenance personnel must be aware of energy
management when carrying out their respective duties.
                 Front Office Personnel                      Figure 2. Systems are available to control guest room
                                                             heating and cooling from the front desk.
     Good energy management practices in guest rooms
start before guests arrive. A room assignment plan can                     Housekeeping Department
reduce space conditioning costs significantly. During
periods of low occupancy, it may be possible to close            Guests are not the only users of energy in guest
down entire wings or floors of your hotel or motel.          rooms. Housekeepers can have a significant effect on
Heating and cooling systems in unoccupied rooms or           the amount of energy consumed.        The following
areas can be turned off completely (except when freezing     housekeeping procedures can save energy.
might occur) or thermostats on central systems can be set
very high in the summer (83 to 85 degrees) or very low       *   Under normal conditions, have housekeepers turn off
in the winter (50 to 55 degrees).                                heating and cooling systems in unoccupied guest
     When assigning rooms, make sure that guests are             rooms.
assigned to adjoining rooms so that the heating or
cooling of occupied rooms acts as a buffer or insulator.     *   If you determine that housekeepers cannot or should
     Front office personnel should learn how central             not turn off heating and cooling systems after
heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC)                 cleaning rooms, at least require them to reset
systems are arranged in order to avoid maintaining full          thermostats upward or downward when they leave
heating or cooling service to an entire wing or floor            the rooms.
serving only a few guests. A chart identifying guest
Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels                                                                           Page 3

*   Ensure that draperies and shades are closed when             continuous part of a guest room maintenance
    housekeepers leave guest rooms. Energy will be               program. Seal cracks around windows, doors, and
    saved by reducing heat gain in summer and heat loss          through-the-wall or window type HVAC units with
    in winter.                                                   caulk. Weatherstrip doors and operable windows.

*   Ensure that housekeepers turn off guest room lights,     *   Consider using fluorescent lamps where practical.
    televisions and radios when rooms are unoccupied.            They require about one-third to one-fourth the
                                                                 electricity of incandescent lamps and last 10 to 20
*   Instruct housekeepers to use natural lighting when           times longer. Compact fluorescent lamps with color
    making up and cleaning guest rooms. Limit the use            rendition comparable to incandescents are now
    of artificial lighting.                                      available for virtually all lighting fixtures: table
                                                                 lamps, wall-mounted fixtures, recessed fixtures
*   Establish cleaning schedules for lighting fixtures           (down lights), and for decorative lighting (e.g.,
    both inside and outside guest rooms. All fixtures            bathroom vanities).
    become dirty with use and will produce more light
    after cleaning.                                          *   If incandescent lamps must be used, remember,
                                                                 larger incandescent lamps use less energy per unit
*   Limit the amount of hot water used for cleaning.             light output than smaller lamps.

*   Instruct housekeepers to report any equipment in         *   Make sure that bathroom exhaust fans do not run
    need of repair (e.g., leaking faucet, malfunctioning         constantly. Fans that operate continuously remove
    air conditioner).                                            excessive amounts of heated or cooled air from
                                                                 guest rooms. Consider connecting fans to the light
                Maintenance Department                           switches in guest room bathrooms to reduce
                                                                 excessive operation.
     Maintenance personnel can significantly affect the
efficiency of equipment. The following are tips for          *   Install timers on bathroom heat lamps so they turn
proper maintenance of the heating, ventilating and air           off when not needed.
conditioning (HVAC) system--the largest user of energy
in hotels and motels--and for other equipment.               *   Check and repair leaking hot water faucets. Do not
                                                                 allow water that you have paid to heat to go down
*   Regularly check and clean HVAC filters.                      the drain unused. A dripping hot water faucet can
                                                                 waste about 5,000 gallons of water per year.
*   Clean condenser and evaporator coils. As dirt and
    dust collect on finned surfaces, the HVAC system’s       *   Install flow restrictors in showers and faucets to
    efficiency is reduced.                                       reduce hot water usage.

*   Select high efficiency units when replacing HVAC         *   Reduce domestic hot water temperature to 110 to
    equipment.       Like most equipment, the high               120 degrees F at the water heater.
    efficiency units may be more expensive than average
    efficiency units, but the higher initial outlay can be         ENERGY MANAGEMENT IN PUBLIC AREAS
    recovered through increased energy savings in as
    little as 2 to 5 years. A note of caution: Be sure           The public areas of a hotel or motel include the
    that the air conditioning unit selected has adequate     lobby, meeting rooms, ballrooms, office space, retail
    moisture removal capacity. Some high efficiency          shops, bars/lounges, dining rooms or hallways, and can
    models sacrifice moisture removal capacity in order      contribute substantially to a facility’s total energy
    to boost their overall heat removal capacity. In hot     requirements.
    and humid climates such as Florida’s, this can be            Unlike in guest rooms, management can directly
    counter productive as chronic excessive moisture can     control energy use in public areas.           The many
    lead to mold and mildew growth.                          opportunities for energy-savings are listed below. Space
                                                             conditioning is discussed first, followed by lighting.
*   Caulking and weatherstripping, two low-cost
    weatherization measures, should also be a
Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels                                                                              Page 4

          Space Conditioning of Public Areas                       conditioning equipment that provides heating and
                                                                   cooling to public areas.
    There are a number of operational changes that can
substantially improve the efficiency and cost                  *   Consider installing high efficiency equipment when
effectiveness of cooling and heating systems.                      new equipment is purchased.

*   Schedule meeting functions in rooms that are served                        Lighting of Public Areas
    by the same space conditioning system; turn off
    systems that are not needed.                                   Some public areas, such as lobbies and hallways,
                                                               may require lighting 24 hours a day. Replacing
*   Assign an individual to be responsible for turning         incandescent lighting, with efficient fluorescent lighting
    the heating and cooling system on or off according         can substantially reduce the cost of lighting.
    to a daily time-of-use schedule for the various                The following additional actions can also reduce
    function rooms. Or, consider installing an energy          overall lighting energy requirements.
    management system to control the HVAC system.
                                                               *   Replace incandescent lamps in exit signs with
*   Close supply grills and registers and turn off electric        compact fluorescent lamps. Not only will you
    heaters in lobbies, corridors or vestibules whenever           reduce energy consumption by 50 to 75 percent, but
    appropriate during the heating season.                         fluorescents last 10 to 20 times longer than most
                                                                   incandescent lamps.
*   Turn on self-contained units, such as window and
    through-the-wall units, only when needed. Turn             *   Purchase the highest efficiency lamps and ballasts
    them off when the space will be unoccupied for                 available when buying replacement lamps and
    several hours.                                                 ballasts. For example, buy 34-watt fluorescent
                                                                   lamps rather than 40-watt lamps and 60-watt lamps
*   Turn off the pilot lights on gas-fired heating units (if       rather than 75-watt lamps when purchasing
    applicable) during the cooling season.                         replacements for 4- and 8-foot fluorescent fixtures.

*   During the cooling season, set up the thermostat at        *   Turn off lighting in unoccupied rooms. Reduce the
    night from 78 degrees to 85 degrees F in unoccupied            use of lighting during night cleaning. Where
    spaces. During the heating season set the thermostat           appropriate, consider the installation of solid-state
    at night from 55 degrees to 65 degrees F.                      dimmer switches, which can reduce energy
*   Keep draperies and shades closed in unoccupied
    function rooms. Energy will be saved by reducing           *   Make use of natural light. Whenever adequate light
    heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.           from windows is available, open draperies and raise
                                                                   shades while setting up or tearing down function
*   Stop air infiltration and exfiltration. Keep windows           rooms. Be sure to close draperies and shades when
    and outside doors closed. Periodically check and               rooms are vacant. Whenever possible, use natural
    caulking around window and door frames and the                 lighting in the lobby area.
    weatherstripping of doors and operable windows.
                                                                              ENERGY MANAGEMENT IN
*   Consider the use of ceiling fans in appropriate                          MISCELLANEOUS SERVICES
    public areas such as the lobby, lounge and dining
    room.                                                          Energy use in swimming pool pumps and heaters,
                                                               ice-making machines and vending machines can be
*   Consider the use of solar screens, window film or          substantial because this equipment usually operates
    awnings over large areas of glass, such as in the          continuously, regardless of occupancy.
    lobby or dining room—especially where the
    windows face west.

*   Regularly clean and service the boilers, chillers,
    condenser coils, and air filters of the space
Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels                                                                                Page 5

               Swimming Pools and Spas                              aesthetics are often an important aspect of pool
                                                                    lighting. Operate spa and pool heaters only during
    Swimming pools and spas require a great deal of                 times of usage. Allow for a short warm-up time just
energy. Unfortunately, many of the energy-using                     before use. Keep pool thermostats at 80 to 82
systems that support swimming pools and spas cannot be              degrees (or below) and spa thermostats at 95 to 100
substantially altered without adversely affecting their             degrees (or below).
operation. For example, a pool’s water filtration system
uses electricity almost continuously. It cannot be              *   Consider installing timers on pool and spa heaters so
stopped, however, because the water would quickly                   that they are not left on after pool hours.
become dirty and create a possible health hazard.
    The following actions can conserve energy in                *   Turn off heater(s), including the pilot light(s) (where
swimming pool and spa operations.                                   applicable), when closing the pool or spa for winter.

*   Clean the skimmer and pump strainer baskets                 *   Follow the manufacturer’s suggested program of
    frequently.                                                     preventive maintenance for your heater to prevent
                                                                    scaling and sooting.
*   Service the filter as recommended by               the
    manufacturer; do not backwash excessively.                  *   Consider closing outdoor pools and spas in
                                                                    September or October and draining or covering them
*   Trim back excess foliage around the pool and spa.               so filter systems and pumps can be turned off. A
    Keep deck areas clean to reduce filtering                       10-horsepower pump motor can consume $2,000
    requirements.                                                   worth of electricity if run continuously for 6 to 8
*   Eliminate or reduce external lighting not needed for
    safety or security. Do not forget, however, that                              *    Consider sheltering outdoor pools
                                                                                       and spas from prevailing winds
                                                                                       with hedges, fencing or other

                                                                                      Ice-Makers and Vending Machines

                                                                                      Do not overlook ice-makers and
                                                                                  vending machines. These machines
                                                                                  operate continuously and consequently
                                                                                  consume electricity 8,760 hours a year.

                                                                                  *    Regularly clean and check and
                                                                                       condenser coils on your ice-makers
                                                                                       and vending machines.

                                                                                  *    Have the firm that installs and
                                                                                       supplies the vending machines
                                                                                       perform maintenance on their
                                                                                       equipment (e.g., routinely check
                                                                                       refrigerant levels).

                                                                                  KEEPING GOOD RECORDS IS A MUST

                                                                                      The basis for any successful energy
                                                                                  management program is a sound and
                                                                                  consistently maintained energy
Figure 3. Below the dials, which measure energy consumption (kwh), is the scale
                                                                                  accounting system. Energy accounting,
that records demand (kw).                                                         like financial accounting, is simply a
Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels                                                                             Page 6

matter of keeping track of how much energy is used, for            Demand charges allow the utility to offset the costs
what purpose and by whom.                                     of maintaining extra generating capacity to meet its peak
     Some people attempt to bypass real energy                customer demands. As shown in Figure 3, demand is
accounting by running to "bottom line" analysis (e.g.,        measured in kilowatts by an arrow and scale that are
total annual expenditures for energy). Such shortcuts fail    located at the bottom of your electric meter. The arrow
to recognize the effect of utility rate changes, weather,     is reset to zero by the utility’s meter reader after each
and additions to, or remodeling of, buildings.                monthly reading.
     An assessment of past and current conditions is basic         If you have difficulty reading your meter, ask your
to any sound energy plan. This initial step provides a        utility representatives for assistance. In addition, you
basis for setting realistic goals as well as a base for       may want to talk to your representative to make sure
tracking energy management progress through comparing         your buildings are on the proper rate schedules. Your
figures for consumption and for cost.                         utilities’ representatives are excellent sources of
     A simple energy accounting system should provide         information. Getting to know them can be one of the
useful information with a minimum amount of needed            most effective actions you can take.
data. Energy accounting procedures involve two phases:
data gathering and preparing energy indices.                                         SUMMARY

                     Data Gathering                                Energy management is one facet of sound
                                                              hotel/motel management. Recordkeeping and tracking
     Assemble your energy bills for the past year, or for     energy consumption will provide you with a good
a longer period of time if you want a greater perspective.    foundation for your energy management efforts.
If you have not kept copies of your bills, request your            Instructing front office, housekeeping and
billing history from the utility companies serving you.       maintenance personnel on their roles in establishing and
Most utilities will provide these records at no charge.       maintaining the energy management practices and
     Record the data on a photocopy of the form               procedures listed throughout this factsheet can go a long
provided on page 7 of this factsheet. (If you hotel or        way toward reducing energy consumption in your
motel consists of several buildings, you may want to          facility.
make a separate copy for each building.)
     The data record form requires the input of electricity                    MORE INFORMATION
and natural gas consumption and costs, as well as
operating data from your facility. Electricity bills are          For more information on ways to save energy in
generally more complicated than other fuel bills.             your hotel or motel read the Florida Energy Extension
     Electricity charges are based on consumption,            Service factsheets "Reducing Operating Costs Through
measured in kilowatt-hours (kwh), and the rate of             Improved Energy Efficiency in Your Business--A
consumption, called "demand," measured in kilowatts           Checklist," "Lighting in Small Businesses"
(kw). Bills may also include charges for low power
factor, fuel cost surcharges, time of use, and sales taxes.
The following is an explanation of how these are
     The consumption charge is calculated by multiplying
the number of kilowatt-hours used by the cost per
kilowatt-hour. One kilowatt-hour is 1,000 watts of
electricity used for one hour, such as ten 100-watt lights
burning for one hour. Charges per kilowatt-hour
combine the cost of service (the energy charge) and the
cost of fuel used to generate the power (the fuel
adjustment charge).
     Most commercial customers also pay for the rate of
use, either directly or indirectly. A 1,000 watt light (1
kw) consumes energy at a rate of 1 kw per hour (1 kwh).
If the light is used for only 15 minutes, it will consume
.25 kwh, but the power demand, or rate of use for that
15 minutes is still a kilowatt.
Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels                         Page 7

and "Energy Management for Small Business." To
receive one or all of these free factsheets or for
information on other ways to save energy, call your local
County Extension Office or write:

    Florida Energy Extension Service
    220 Rolfs Hall
    University of Florida
    Gainesville, FL 32611

     For additional reading, look for the following
publications, available from the publisher or your local
library or bookstore.

Practical Management of Hotel and Motel Energy Costs,
    Hospitality Lodging and Travel Research
    Foundation, American Hotel and Motel Association,
    888 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10106.
Survey of Energy and Water Use in Hotels and Motels -
    1987 The American Hotel and Motel Association,
    1201 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
Energy Savings in Hotels and Motels                                                                                                                                            Page 8

                                                   ENERGY USE IN BTUs PER SQUARE FOOT (EUI), $ PER SQUARE FOOT (ECI),
                                                        ENERGY USE PER OCCUPIED ROOM, AND COST PER OCCUPIED ROOM
                                                           Year: ______________          Building: ______________

   Month                         Electricity                                    Natural Gas                           Total Energy                     Operating Data

              Consumption            Demand             Cost                                    Cost

            kWh    Million    Actual     Billed   Total     Avg.    CCF    Million       Total     $/Per      Million     Total   Million    No. of      MMBTU/Ro       Cost Per
                     (MM)                                  ¢/kWh             (MM)                   CCF         (MM)      Cost     (MM)      Rooms          om            Room
                     Btu                                                      Btu                                Btu              Btu per   Occupied     Occupied       Occupied
                                                                                                                                  Sq. Ft.

        1    2        3          4            5     6          7     8          9          10          11        12        13        14       15            16            17














                  Col. 3 =                                                 Col. 9 =                    Col. 12 =          Col. 13 = Col.     Col. 16 = Col.      Col. 17 = Col.
                   Col. 2 x .003413                                         Col. 8 x 1.03               Col. 3 + Col. 9    6 + Col. 10        12 + Col. 15        13 + Col. 15

To calculate the Energy Cost Index, divide column 13 total by number of             Annual Energy Cost Index
square feet of conditioned space in building or facility metered for gas and        ($/square foot/year)     _________________
To calculate the Energy Use Index, divide column 12 total by number of square       Annual Energy Utilization Index
feet of conditioned (heated and/or cooled) space in building or facility            (BTUs/square foot/year) _________________
metered for gas and electricity. Then, move the decimal point six places to
the right.

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