Smart software can be used to drastically reduce energy wastage in every guest room without affecting comfort levels.

The hotel industry faces the challenge to reduce carbon emissions by 66% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 to stay within the 2˚C threshold agreed at COP21, a United Nations Climate Change initiative. 

Commissioned by lighting specialist Signify, a study by engineering consultancy firm Cundall shows that for mid-scale and luxury hotels, using intelligent software suites can deliver significant energy savings without compromising on quality and guest comfort.

The software required would be a connected guest room management system featuring a single dashboard. Compared to traditional hotels whose rooms without smart controls, a luxury hotel can consume 28% less energy per guest room at 80% occupancy. When the guest uses the Green Mode on the thermostat an additional 10% energy saving can be achieved.

Aircon, lighting and power factors

Hotels are big players when it comes to energy consumption, consistently ranking among the highest energy consumers of the tertiary building sector, which focuses on delivering services. One possible explanation for high energy use and inefficient energy practices, is that hotels often prioritize guest comfort and experience over everything else. But much more can be done than asking guests to opt-in to less frequent towel changes and the increasing use of refillable toiletry dispensers. Cundall’s study showed how integration of control systems into key building services (air conditioning, lighting and power), can play a major role in reaching the energy reduction targets set by the International Tourism Partnership, while maintaining guest comfort.

According to Jella Segers, Global Lead for Hospitality at Signify a connected guest room management system has a big impact on reducing energy costs, as it controls the room lighting, air conditioning, power and charging sockets and motorized curtains. For example, hotels can optimize their energy usage in unoccupied guest rooms by adjusting the temperature levels in the room automatically and open curtains only when guests have checked in.”

The study has shown that 65% of the realized energy savings in the hotels studied were achieved due to the integration between such smart guest room software and the hotel property management system. The remaining 35% energy savings were achieved due to the real-time occupancy control in the guest room.

Said Segar: “Commonly used temperature setpoints used by hotels often make guests feel too warm or too cold, marking vast gaps between indoor and outdoor temperatures. Working with Cundall, recommendations of temperature setpoint ranges have been created, commonly referred to as adaptive comfort hypothesis. Understanding the bandwidth of comfortable temperature set points gives more options for energy savings.”

Based on seasonal changes, a smart guest room energy management system provides support to automatically update temperature setpoints across the hotel, balancing energy use with optimal guest comfort,” said Marcus Eckersley, Managing Director SEA for Cundall. “Although this study has presented significant energy savings for hotels in hot climates within Southeast Asia, Middle East and North Africa, we anticipate similar savings from heating for hotels in temperate climates, like Europe and North America. Hotel operators can expect favorable returns on investment, compared to guest rooms without a smart control system in operation.” 

Signify offers such software with an open Application Program Interface (API) that various hotel IT systems can plug into without much hassle. Other than maximizing energy efficiency and meeting sustainability goals, staff productivity and guest experience are improved. Operations can be streamlined, and fast turnaround times are possible with minimal guest disruptions, as a single dashboard with real-time displays of guest requests and room conditions offers easy management.