The Eco Engineering Approach
Eco has successfully completed a variety of projects in the Hotel and Hospitality Industry. These projects typically involve a large facility, with multiple areas of divergent lighting needs and true 24×7 operations. Our experience offers some critical insights and key learnings about energy efficient lighting projects in these types of environments.
Total Building Savings
While the guest floors and accompanying rooms of these facilities are often fairly uniform, the buildings often contain a variety of highly specialized spaces with different lighting needs. Lobbys, restaurants, shops, banquet and conference spaces, offices, kitchens, housekeeping facilities and loading docks or storage areas each carry unique lighting requirements. Understanding each of these areas and the potential for increased lighting efficiency in any one of them can have a dramatic impact on projected energy savings. If each of these add-on spaces are properly audited and evaluated for inclusion in a lighting upgrade project, the hotel operator can make an informed decision about the added cost versus the additional energy savings. The solution designed for these areas is likely to be very different from the guest areas. Eco has experience with many projects fitting this situation and has seen the added impact of the non-guest room square footage create the difference between an acceptable project payback and a borderline financial business case. Additionally, energy rebates and tax credits – like those available from EPAct – may allow for different methods of computing savings based on partial versus total building solutions.
Ambient photocell sensors can automatically control the “off/on” function for many types of lighting, thus producing another source of energy savings. Eco engineers and auditors explore what areas within the hotel can have “lights off” and incorporate specific recommendations regarding ambient sensor technology where appropriate. Special attention is placed on evaluating guest security and safety issues while engineering the correct and financially prudent sensor solution.
In many areas throughout the hotel, traffic patterns and lighting needs vary considerably during the course of a 24 hour day. Motion sensors can conserve energy by shutting lights down when there is no activity. Eco has helped clients understand this issue by conducting sensor studies using light loggers to quantify the potential energy savings even when hotel management personnel believed the areas were always in need of light. Safety issues must be elevated to paramount importance when considering this technology as some areas in the facility will never be candidates to install motion sensors.
Hotels often provide an opportunity for significant savings in Maintenance, Repair and Operating expenses (MRO) following a lighting upgrade. These savings are not only real; they can carry a significant impact on the financial payback analysis associated with the project – since the new lamps and ballasts will operate for up to three years or longer without needing any maintenance. We look carefully at maintenance practices to ensure our design will be easily maintained so guest room lamps won’t get mixed up with loading dock lamps. Eco works closely with our clients to calculate the current expense in maintaining and repairing the existing lighting systems and then we conservatively estimate the savings from inventory management and labor costs post-project.