Wednesday, April 23, 2014

At Energy-Minded U.S. Hotels, They'll Turn the Lights Off for You

At the Palazzo Navona, a store hotel named for the popular piazza here, families must put a room secret into a slot on the wall to turn on the lights and temperature level control system in their spaces.

The Palazzo s use of the vital card device is not unusual in Europe or in other parts of the world, like Asia. Even in nations like Norway where electricity is reasonably low-cost, many hotels use them to lower energy expenses. American hotels have actually long resisted essential cards or other energy-saving systems. Energy was inexpensive, and hoteliers feared that visitors, who consistently left their rooms with the lights and air-conditioner on, would see any check on their energy use as a hassle.

Hotel guests have a feeling that they paid for the space and they can use it freely, and there’s a natural tendency not to be too conscious of their energy use, said Brian Carberry, a director of product management for Leviton Manufacturing Company, of Melville, N.Y., that makes essential card switches and other energy-saving devices for hotels. The aversion of hoteliers in the United States is slowly shifting as Americans have actually ended up being more energy conscious and more states and municipalities have embraced rigorous structure codes for energy use.

In 2014, the most recent year for which figures are readily available, 29 percent of hotels surveyed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association had a sensing unit system in family spaces to control the temperature, compared to less than 20 percent in 2004; and more than 75 percent had switched to LED lighting, up from less than 20 percent. Other energy-saving steps had actually likewise been more extensively adopted.

According to the World Tourism Organization, an arm of the United Nations, tourist has a considerable effect on climate modification, making up about 5 percent of the co2 released internationally into the environment. That is 3 percent from airline company travel, but the remaining 2 percent from accommodations and local travel, stated ZoritsaUrosevic, the organization s representative to the United Nations at Geneva, in charge of its intermediary office. Energy expenses typically represent 4 to 6 percent of a hotel s total business expenses, with the largest share for heating and air-conditioning.

As an outcome, Ms. Urosevic said, the potential for cost savings in carbon decrease and expenses for hotel services is big. The company works with European tourism agencies in a project called Hotel Energy Solutions, which on its website offers academic videos, fact sheets on vital cards and other energy-saving devices and a calculator to help little and midsize hotels in Europe evaluate their carbon footprint.

Numerous significant hotels in the United States have actually digitally controlled thermostats to monitor the temperature level in guest spaces, said Pat Maher, a retired Marriott executive who is an expert to hotels on energy management.

And a growing number, he said, have set up sophisticated systems that notice when a room is inhabited. When a hotel guest goes into a space, the device permits the temperature to be manually controlled within a certain range from 60 to 80 degrees, for example and then sets it back into an energy-saving mode when the space is uninhabited once again.

Mr. Maher stated such a system might save a hotel 20 percent or more in energy expenses. And lots of energy business, he kept in mind, now provide discounts to hotels that have set up digital thermostats and other energy management gadgets.

But crucial cards have actually still not captured on in the United States and are not likely to do so, Mr. Maher said. Some families grumble about the systems and the innovation is quickly becoming outdated, he added.

Besides, he said, hotel keys themselves are likely to vanish quickly, replaced by systems that provide more security for visitor rooms. You won’t see a key card in about four years, they’ll be gone, Mr. Maher stated, changed by controls run from a family s smartphone.

Still, for some independently run hotels, specifically those housed in older structures, vital card-based light and temperature controls seem an increasingly attractive option.

Key card switches are really efficient and fairly low cost, stated Tom Leonard, vice president of marketing and product management for the Leviton division that makes energy management products. The company’s sales of the switches, he and Mr. Carberry stated, have increased by 25 to 30 percent in the last two years, the increase driven primarily by energy effectiveness standards like California’s Title 24.

The crucial card systems enable hotels to pick which circuits are controlled by the devices. And most of the times, the switches are configured with a delay, keeping the lights on for a short grace period after the key has actually been eliminated from the slot.

BD Hotels set up crucial card changes in 3 of its store hotels in New York several years ago, consisting of the Jane, in the West Village, and the Ludlow, on the Lower East Side, said Dr. Richard Born, a principal owner. Up until now, Dr. Born stated, they have had no problems from families, but he added, we cater to a various customer than a Marriott Courtyard. At the Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki and the Aqua Bamboo Waikiki hotels in Hawaii, vital card systems were put in as part of an overall energy savings effort, stated David Crouch, senior director of operations at Aqua-Aston Hospitality, which manages the hotels.

The cost savings are tremendous, Mr. Crouch said.

He agreed that key cards are far from ideal. They are not well fit to severe environments, Mr. Crouch said, and were undesirable in the hotel group’s property in Las Vegas, where temperature levels can reach 110 degrees in the summer and the prospect of going back to a boiling hot room was less than appealing to visitors. Brian McGuinnes, senior vice president of Starwood’s specialty chooses brand name, which includes the Element line of green hotels, stated that his company decided not to install key cards because the innovation is altering so quickly.

We weren’t want to be caught in a Beta versus VCR moment, he said.

The card systems can likewise be quickly gamed by positioning an extra space type in the wall slot to keep the lights or air-conditioning on, even when the room is vacant.

You have to take the guest from the equation, stated Tom Woodruff, general supervisor of Honeywell’s Inncom line of product, which makes an occupancy-sensing digital temperature control system.

More recent innovations have done that, shifting energy use so discreetly that a guest might not even understand the distinction. As well as hoteliers who put guest fulfillment well ahead preservation might be encouraged to act to lower their energy use. Energy is just going to increase in cost and up in ecological impact, Mr. Leonard said. I would be very shocked if the energy codes we see in California weren’t expand across the nation.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014