hotel lobby front desk

According to a 2018 study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. hospitality industry is among the nation’s biggest energy consumers, surpassing warehousing, healthcare facilities, retail spaces, and restaurants. Operations expenditures of this size present a compelling opportunity for hotel and event space managers to find creative ways to economize and trim their energy budgets. Read on to learn our top five energy-saving tips for hotels and hospitality.

1. Conduct an Energy Audit

The highest energy use in the hospitality industry typically comes from heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Since these are responsible for maintaining temperature and air quality, HVAC systems run continuously and contribute significantly to energy expenses. Other primary hospitality energy uses include lighting and hot water systems, kitchen equipment, and laundry services.

Energy savings in hospitality begin with analyzing your facility’s unique energy use and needs. ENERGY STAR, a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy that promotes energy efficiency, offers a Data Collection Worksheet for Hotels which will facilitate an accurate, detailed audit specific to your establishment.

2. Optimize Your HVAC Systems

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are likely to be your area of greatest energy consumption. So, finding ways to boost efficiency here will automatically lead to energy cost savings.

Start by replacing your old heating and cooling systems. If your furnace is over 10 years old, it may be time for an upgrade. Aged appliances, especially heating and cooling systems, can be a significant source of energy usage in your properties. You may be paying unnecessary money in extra energy costs without realizing it. In many cases, your local utility may offer incentives and rebates to help cover the cost of upgrading to an energy-efficient heating or cooling system.

Install smart thermostats. Newer, programmable thermostats can automatically adjust the heating and cooling system based on guest patterns. Smart thermostats are also Wi-Fi-enabled, so you can adjust the temperature from almost anywhere and see your energy usage from your smartphone or tablet.

Make sure to change your air filters regularly. Depending on how much you use your furnace/AC unit, you should change the filters monthly. New, clean filters will allow your system to run more efficiently, saving you money each month.

3. Take Advantage of Easy Savings on Lighting 

Every hotel and hospitality facility has different energy consumption patterns, but lighting typically accounts for a significant portion of energy expenditures. This means that there are several opportunities for saving through improved lighting practices.

If you haven’t already, switch to LED lighting for an easy budget fix. Compare a 60-watt standard bulb to the LED equivalent, and you’re looking at 6-8 watts of power used per bulb or less. By swapping out all of your incandescent lights for LEDs, you can cut your property’s wattage consumption by hundreds or even thousands. Not only that, but LEDs have an average lifespan of over 50,000 hours, nearly 40 times longer than traditional bulbs.

Install occupancy and motion sensors, especially in low-traffic areas like hallways, bathrooms, and conference rooms, to reduce lighting costs. Daylight sensors can also help trim lighting budgets by adjusting artificial lighting based on the amount of natural light available in indoor spaces.

4. Adjust Energy Use for the Season

The year’s hottest and coldest months cause significant increases in energy usage. Adjusting a hotel or hospitality facility’s energy consumption in response presents yet another opportunity for energy savings.

Schedule an AC system tune-up prior to the summer and winter months. Have a reputable HVAC company come to your properties to perform a tune-up on your central air conditioning or heating system. This will help keep them running as efficiently as possible when they’re needed.

When it’s warmer, reduce humidity. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.” This holds true in your building, too. If the thermostat reads 70 degrees, but your properties still feel like saunas, you may want to invest in a dehumidifier. A reputable HVAC company can even install a solution that works in the entire building.

Adjust your thermostat for savings. The California Energy Commission found that during colder months, for every degree lower in the 60- to 70-degree range, you could save up to 5% on heating costs. The inverse is true when it’s warm; you can beat the heat and save money on your energy bills by turning up the thermostat just one or two degrees.

Prevent the loss of temperature-controlled air. Doors and windows are the leading causes of lost heat or cool air. To minimize the amount of air lost, look for places where heat or cool air can escape. These locations are generally found around window frames, doors, and where pipes enter and exit walls. Many HVAC companies can send a certified professional to evaluate your properties for these inefficiencies.

5. It Takes a Village

Energy conservation isn’t just good for business, it’s also good for the environment. Since it’s for a good cause, many of your employees and guests will want to help out.

Staff can help minimize power usage in unoccupied rooms and spaces by maximizing natural light by opening blinds and curtains, keeping windows and doors closed to prevent the loss of hot or cool air, confirming that HVAC systems are working correctly, using energy-efficient settings and full loads with washers and dryers, and turning off unused kitchen equipment.

You can offer guests a chance to participate in your energy conservation programs by suggesting they hang up towels for reuse and use “Do Not Disturb” signs to indicate that linens need not be changed daily.

Are you interested in additional energy-saving tips for hotels and hospitality? Contact the experts at UGI EnergyLink today!