Hilton Barra Rio de Janeiro
Hotels spend roughly $7.5 billion on energy every year, and operate facilities that are open 24-hours per day 365-days per year, and even in hotels that sell out every day, the typical hotel room is vacant approximately 60 to 70 percent of an average day.
Hotel guest rooms account for 30 to 70 percent of energy use in the hospitality industry, Guest rooms in full-service properties with large lobbies, conference facilities, kitchens, pools, etc. are often around 30% of the total energy used, while in economy hotels, with no meaningful common areas, the energy consumed in the guest room is closer to 80% of the total spend.
Since hotel rooms are vacant for so much of the day, they hold great potential for cost savings, however concerns about the impact of energy-efficiency on guest satisfaction have kept many hoteliers from investing in energy-management solutions. Across the industry, only 30 to 40 percent of hotels have implemented guest room energy management solutions.
Why has the technology not taken off?
But why such low penetration? Because hotels who installed some of the early generation systems experienced a great deal of guest complaints – most often the complaints where guests returning to rooms that were really hot or cold, or guests who would wake-up at night because the rooms were too hot or too cold. Either case led to many complaints and comped rooms and word spread quickly that the technology was not worth it.
If you’re considering a key card based system, please don’t waste your money, that technology can be defeated with a business card, instead automate the process and ensure comfort and savings. It has taken a long time to overcome those negatives, but with recent advances in accuracy and sensitivity of sensors and development of control algorithms that can ensure a comfortable room when guests return, we can now eliminate the contradiction between comfort and savings.
Our experience installing in many thousands of rooms has taught us the importance of simplicity in hotels. Any technology deployed in hotels need to be very simple and intuitive. Guests should not have to learn how to use the thermostat, or how to open the curtains or turn on the lights. Technology in hotels need to be simple, intuitive and immediately responsive.
We have tried many different technologies but have decided on a core set of technologies that we stand behind and have served us and our clients very well. With recent advances in accuracy and sensitivity of occupancy sensors and sophisticated control algorithms that ensure a comfortable room when guests return, we can now eliminate the contradiction between comfort and savings. For technical details on how this is accomplished, please refer to the RecoveryTime brochure which offers more details on how this patented control algorithm ensures a consistent guest experience for each guest.
Evolutix installs the EcoSmart guest room energy management by Telkonet, It is an approved guestroom technology for all major hotel brands, including Marriott (including all the Starwood brands), Hilton, Hyatt, IHG (including Kimpton), Four Seasons, Choice and many more.
The EvoPad is the latest solution for hotels, and allows hotels to engage with guests and create an immersive and unique experience. We developed it in response to customer requests for technology that allowed them to increase guest engagement and offer guests more autonomous control over their environment. Our EvoPad ensures that comfort, quality and luxury are never compromised, with a simple to use EvoPad tablet or other mobile device, guests can control drapes, lights, temperature, TV, music, as well as schedule wake-up calls, order room service, schedule spa treatments, request valet service and so much more.
EvoPad ensures that through one easy-to-use system, hotel staff is always just one touch away from ensuring the perfect stay.
In existing buildings we strive to deliver the maximum ROI, so to minimize up-front costs we often recommend deploying wireless systems because the installation time and cost is dramatically reduced, which helps ensure minimal downtime and loss of revenue from rooms being out of service.
Projects typically pay for themselves in 2-3 years through the reductions in energy but the largest savings come from staff operational improvements and proactive maintenance instead of reactive repairs. To ensure the investment is preserved and to deal with frequent staff turnover, Evolutix offers training for hotel staff to operate the system and harvest the most operational benefit possible. Our training on nce the system is in place, we work with hotel staff to develop a well-defined management strategy to ensure the data is being acted on and inefficiencies are being addressed in a timely manner.
The data helps identify the energy efficiency of each individual room, highlighting the least-energy-efficient rooms and providing staff with the necessary data to take corrective action. The system is adaptive and considers factors such as HVAC efficiency, sun exposure, insulation, and thermal leakage.
ROI also is affected by the size of the property. Generally, the installation crew can follow the housekeeping crew and generally requires less than 30-minutes per room to install the necessary hardware. Although installation costs vary depending on the number of rooms, larger units tend to experience quicker returns. Generally, the greater the number of units, the lower the installation cost per room.
Other factors that affect the overall ROI, include the cost of energy, the availability of rebates and incentives for energy efficiency, as well as the location of the hotel and the regional climate. While all guestrooms are vacant a majority of the day, there is a difference based on the type of customer base, as vacationers and business travelers operate on different schedules and have different energy-usage levels.
Integration with Hotel Systems
System performance is optimized when we integrate the guest room technologies with the hotel’s Property-Management System (PMS) because integration with these systems allows deeper temperature setbacks for unrented guest rooms. In hotels that have a Building Automation System (BAS) we also recommend integrating the BAS system which typically controls the central utility plant (chillers, boilers etc.) and many of the common areas. We provide this integration through the use of open standards and by integrating the room controls with the BAS, the resulting data enables optimizing the central utility plant and promotes a building wide or portfolio approach to energy management. Below are a few of the many benefits an integrated system:
- If a room is rented but unoccupied, the system can allow temperatures to “drift” from the temperature the guest left the thermostat at.
- If a room is unrented, deep setback can be utilized, or, if room(s) need to be taken out of service temporarily the settings can automatically set by the front desk via the PMS.
- The ability to fine-tune these settings can have a significant impact on return on investment (ROI) during the initial payback period.
- Continuous monitoring and alerts leads to higher guest satisfaction as well as improved maintenance response times. Since staff members can access each room remotely, they can often schedule repairs without the guest ever being aware there was an issue. Staff can monitor and controls each room or floor to help resolve problems and manage in-room energy use for peak performance.
- For guests and staff members who are interested in participating the hotel’s sustainability efforts, additional data can be generated to provide visibility into “green performance.”
- The system will allow staff members to determine whether rooms are occupied without having to knock on the doors, which often annoys guests.
- With occupancy and vacancy detection, the system is able to alert staff if a room is occupied during unrented periods which can help in safeguarding hotel assets and can alert staff members about possible suspicious activity in unoccupied rooms.