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Energy Efficiency Opportunities: The Lodging Industry

publication date: Jun 14, 2012
author/source: Rick Fedrizzi and Jim Rogers



There is no such thing as a typical hotel. The American Hotel & Lodging Association reported in bexcess of 4 million rooms, generating $108.5 billion in revenues.3 They range from small Bed &Breakfast inns to mammoth, 2,500-plus room resort hotels. Ownership ranges from large multinational hotel chains to private individuals who own small motels, B&Bs and cabins. It is a broad and very diverse industry.


Most of us don’t associate the lodging industry with high energy usage. But when you consider the “24/7” nature of hotels, the variety of services they provide and the transient and often wasteful energy-use habits of guests, energy efficiency opportunities abound.


Energy use and efficiency improvement opportunities for hotels and other hospitality facilities are closely related to the geographical location and the nature of the operations within the facility.

Climate is a major factor, particularly in northern and southern locations that experience temperature (and humidity) extremes. Because of the temperate climate, a hotel in San Diego will experience much less energy consumption per guest than the equivalent hotel in Miami or Minneapolis. In Miami, hotels operate on 24-hour cooling and dehumidification, while a Minneapolis facility heats for much of the year. Hotels in mixed-climate areas have to do some of both.


Hotel guests, many of whom are paying top dollar for a home-away-from-home, won’t be denied the comforts and convenience they expect in their lodging. They want control over room temperatures, the ability to take limitless hot showers 24 hours a day, to leave the room set at the perfect temperature whether they are occupying it at the time or not, and to leave their rooms without worrying whether the lights are still on. They want round-the-clock room service and access to restaurants, business offices, conference rooms, stores, and spas. The primary focus of hotel owners and managers is to deliver those amenities.

Reducing energy costs while continuing to meet the diverse requirements of hotel customers can be challenging. But it is a challenge worth taking. Hotels consume enormous amounts of energy to provide a variety of customer services.

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