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-
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
5. Inspect and clean condenser coils on ice makers
and vending machines.
6. Operate pool heater only during times of pool
ENERGY MANAGEMENT IN GUEST ROOMS
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
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
* 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
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
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 $/Per Million Total Million No. of MMBTU/Ro Cost Per
(MM) ¢/kWh (MM) CCF (MM) Cost (MM) Rooms om Room
Btu Btu Btu Btu per Occupied Occupied Occupied
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Col. 3 = Col. 9 = Col. 12 = Col. 13 = Col. Col. 16 = Col. Col. 17 = Col.
Col. 2 x .003413 Col. 8 x 1.03 Col. 3 + Col. 9 6 + Col. 10 12 + Col. 15 13 + Col. 15
To calculate the Energy Cost Index, divide column 13 total by number of Annual Energy Cost Index
square feet of conditioned space in building or facility metered for gas and ($/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