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5 easy ways to save energy at your hotel

Image of a hotel lobby bell
To manage efficiency at a hotel, start by considering where automated controls can do the work for you, such as with HVAC systems.

First and foremost, ask yourself: "does this need to be on right now?"

When energy advisor Ben Mills visits a hotel, he nearly always sees the same handful of energy-saving opportunities: simple things that, if acted upon, could save operators money.

If you're a hotel operator, consider these Power Smart tips the next time you walk through your facility:

Motion sensors take thinking out of the equation

"Above all, hotel operators should ask themselves the question: 'Do these lights need to be on right now?'" says Mills. "The goal for a hotel is to match its occupancy to its usage. Turning the lights off when they're not needed is the most effective way to reduce energy consumption."

"For instance, if you have six vacancies, the lights in those rooms should be off," Mills explains. "Also, installing motion sensors in rest rooms and storage areas is an easy way for hotel operators to keep energy costs down. Motion sensors are automatic switches that control lighting based on the presence or absence of people. Applied correctly, they can cut a business' energy use by an additional 20 per cent."

Apply automated controls to your HVAC system

"Automated controls for HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) can also provide energy savings and comfort in all kinds of facilities," continues Mills. "For example, automated controls allow hotel owners to program their HVAC system to reduce energy use during off-peak times such as during reduced occupancy periods and shoulder seasons, or at a specific time of night, like 2 a.m., when the majority of hotel guests are asleep."

Consider lowering a lamp's wattage before you invest in a new product

"A lot of hotel operators don't know that they can save money by simply reducing the wattage of a bulb or a lamp," says Mills. "For instance, there are a variety of wattages available for T8 fluorescent lamps which are often used in hotel hallways and lobbies. Switching from a 32-watt T8 to a 28-watt T8 is a straightforward way to lower your energy consumption by as much as 12 per cent per lamp."

"An added bonus of this approach is that there's no need to retrofit your ceiling fixtures," says Mills. "It's a simple one-to-one replacement."

Upgrade specific kinds of screw-in light bulbs, like halogens and incandescents

"If you use screw-in halogen or incandescent lights in your pot lights, lamps and wall sconces, invite a Power Smart Alliance member to stop by your business to talk about your upgrade options," Mills advises.

"For example, Victoria's Strathcona Hotel just completed a series of lighting improvements with the help of an Alliance member. Hundreds of inefficient incandescent and halogen light bulbs were removed from pot lights and lamps in guest suites, as well as from wall sconces in the hotel lobby and hallways. The project qualified for an incentive of $19,650 from BC Hydro, and the hotel expects to save $24,000 a year in energy costs as a result of the upgrade."

Do you have grills, ovens or fryers in your kitchen?

If you do, a lot of your electricity use is likely going to ventilation. "That's because a lot of commercial kitchens — both big and small — run exhaust and supply fans at top speed, and around the clock, even when they're not needed," explains Mills. "Installing a 'smart' exhaust hood above grills, ovens and fryers as well as adding controls on your supply fan can reduce a hood's electricity use by up to 50 per cent."

A number of these efficiency improvements qualify for incentives through the Power Smart Express Program; just ask your local Business Energy Advisor what's right for you. Mills and his colleagues regularly meet in person with business owners to help them evaluate their electricity and natural gas usage. To book a free appointment with a BC Hydro Business Energy Advisor contact the Power Smart Business Help Desk at 1 866 522 4713.