Since Brexit and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the hotel trade has faced one crisis after another – not least the current energy crisis. Skyrocketing energy prices have affected almost every business in every sector however, while some have cut budgets by reducing production or cutting down on employees, these are not viable options for the hotel industry.
Balancing cost saving and the customer experience
On average, a hotel uses around 91m2 of energy with each room using about 50kWh every day. Balancing guest comfort with cost savings and environmental factors is a constant battle for hotel owners and this is unlikely to change in the near future. In order to survive, the guest experience must remain a priority for hotels and this continues to present a significant challenge.
Technology provides the answer for hoteliers
With rising costs across the board, the last thing that most hotel owners will want to think about is spending more money but, the stark truth is that investment is almost certainly going to be the key to their survival.
As energy costs double and sometimes even treble in some cases, many feel that investing in technology is the answer. Most hotels have already implemented energy-saving light bulbs and improved insulation but, the common thinking is that this will simply not be enough going forward.
Energy and cost savings for hotels HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Cooling)
A good HVAC system is essential for guest comfort – in fact, one of the most common guest complaints about hotels is that their room is too hot or too cold. The average lifespan of a hotel HVAC system is between 15 and 20 years, however, some hoteliers will try to extend this through repairs to save money.
However, maintaining old HVAC systems can be a false economy as these older systems tend to be energy expensive. Switching to a more energy-efficient system can reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint and, also, reduce costs by up to 30% by allowing for greater control. These systems can help you to manage your energy use by preventing unnecessary heating and cooling in rooms and areas which are not in use at any given time. Similarly, introducing tankless water heaters is an extremely effective way of reducing costs.
BAS (Building Automation Systems)
These smart building energy management systems are designed to connect and automate devices within a hotel including thermostats, lighting and security systems. This allows hoteliers to continually monitor and adjust systems to keep tighter control of energy use. An example of this would be the automation of lights through sensors whereby lights will be automatically switched off when the system detects that a room is not in use. When combined with smart meters and smart room controls for guest use, hoteliers can create the perfect balance between energy and cost saving and the user experience.
The time is now
While many hoteliers may baulk at the idea of purchasing new and expensive equipment in the midst of a recession, there’s no better time. As the world works towards sustainability goals and, with no end in sight to the fuel price crisis, taking control of energy use right now will almost certainly prove to be a solid investment for the future.
Saikrishan Ranganathan, CEO of SensorFlow a full-stack company that combines the use of wireless IoT solutions and AI-driven automation to make smart buildings a reality. Starting with hotels, SensorFlow’s solution enables smart building management through maximised energy efficiency, optimised operational productivity, and enhanced sustainability.