Improving energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective strategies a company can use to manage rising energy costs. A robust, and well-planned and executed energy management system can drive significant cost savings, and mitigate against price volatility in the energy market. With best practices in place, the Return on Investment (ROI) easily pays for the cost of installing and operating an energy management system.
Businesses are focusing their attention on saving energy. According to NABERS, a national initiative managed by the Office of Environment and Heritage on behalf of Federal, State and Territory governments, office tenants consume about 50 per cent of energy used in a building. NABERS has released a how-to guide for tenants at managing energy efficiently, but building owners and facility managers need insight into efficient energy management and its ROI from a building management point of view.
Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, has released an overview of best practices in a white paper on energy management systems in the hotel industry. The paper puts into perspective the various energy management approaches that would be applicable to commercial buildings and facilities where tenants and occupants are not directly accountable for the facility’s overall utility bill – applicable in modern office buildings which are moving away from cellular workspaces towards more activity-based workspaces where occupants feel less ownership of their space.
Using hotel guest rooms as a point of discussion where hotel guess have little incentive to adopt energy-efficient habits, Schneider Electric outlines steps which management can take to ensure occupant comfort and energy efficiency that clearly translate to strong ROI.
Using hotels as an example, a significant amount of energy consumption can be attributed to heating and air-conditioning, a similar situation in commercial buildings. See the above graph for a representation of typical hotel facility energy consumption. Therefore, reducing these numbers has a major impact on improving asset ROI. Assessments of potential energy conservation in European hotels have shown there is 25-30% in energy savings, especially in hotels with high annual energy consumption. This is especially significant, considering hotel guest room consumption accounts for 40 to 80 percent of energy use within the hospitality sector.
Energy management simplified
Integrated systems allow staff easy access to energy-usage monitoring, and flexibility in allowing different areas and rooms to be managed differently. Sensors within rooms also allow data on comfort, safety and energy consumption to be gathered and analysed with analytics software which then can be translated into actionable intelligence to improve energy efficiency performance. A comparison between the popular key card holder system in hotels, and guest presence detection system and how these systems have evolved are also discussed in detail in the white paper.
The merits of standalone energy management systems are discussed and how integration with a hotel’s building management system (BMS) can improve system performance and associated savings are explained further. Case studies of a five-star hotel in the Middle East and data from the US Department of Energy also further outline the savings potential of rolling out integrated systems.
Examples on leveraging on integrated systems outlined:
- Programming degrees of drift, deep setback and room shut down
- Troubleshooting, training and monitoring
- Tracking unauthorised room entry
Key drivers for ROI are also discussed:
- Installation costs
- Management strategy
- Individual room efficiency
- Property size
- Incentives and funding
By understanding the key factors that drive ROI in the hospitality industry, building owners and facility managers can use the example of hotels to understand the various approaches to energy management and employ the best energy management system for their facility – one that meets their needs, works within their budget and, most importantly, pays for itself by optimising energy efficiency and improving bottom lines.
About the author: Francois Carle is the Director, Global Hotel Solutions within the Buildings Business of Schneider Electric. Driving global business development, Mr Carle leads the creation, expansion and implementation of the Hotels offer as it relates to global energy efficiency measures. Mr. Carle has more than 20 years of experience in the building energy management domain with expertise in both engineering and business administration.
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