Implementing green energy systems can have a significant impact on a hotel's energy bills.

In her book ‘Just One Day’, author Gayle Forman wrote: “If these walls could talk, I wonder what secrets they’d tell.”

Let’s twist this around a little. Rather than talking walls (undoubtedly an architectural marvel if it were possible), let’s consider instead what walls, and the technology systems embedded within them, are capable of remembering instead.

Modern day energy systems in hotels are highly advanced and capable of remembering not just a guest’s preferences, but also detecting when he, she or they are physically in the room and even moving about in the middle of the night. At one point not that long ago, such systems would have been classified as science fiction but indeed, the future is now the present with technology such as EcoStruxure for Hotels now readily available in Australia.

Developments to this energy efficient technology have been subtle but also significant. All the while, with little to no interruption to the overall guest experience, these technology improvements have gradually been implemented, slowly but markedly making guests more comfortable and leading to more positive feedback for the hotel.

Hotels can install smart systems which will turn on the lights and air automatically when a guest approaches.

With sustainability at its core, the EcoStruxure for Hotels platform from Schneider Electric aims to maximise building and energy efficiency in order to maximise guest satisfaction, which in turn drives loyalty and boosts revenue opportunities. Currently, according to Schneider Electric, hotel rooms are unoccupied 70% of the time, yet they still account for up to 80% of energy consumption.

One example of a hotel undertaking a major upgrade of its energy systems is Pan Pacific Perth. While the building in which the hotel resides nears 50 years since it was completed, companies such as ECO33 Pty Ltd, a Schneider Electric EcoXpert partner, see this as no barrier.

The EcoXpert Partner Programme — a programme unique in its industry offering an esteemed partnership between Schneider Electric and a global, cross-expertise ecosystem of solution providers. Together, Schneider Electric and its EcoXperts deliver best-in-class automation and digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability to their customers.

What resulted for Pan Pacific Perth is an energy system that offers cost savings equivalent to the hotel selling an additional 1,750 room nights beyond its physical capacity, every 3.5 years. This works out to an energy saving of AUD$271,000 over the same period of time. On a green scale, this equates to more than 1.2 million kilograms of greenhouse gases that will not be emitted into the atmosphere.

Schneider Electric systems can help hotels lower their energy bills by making better use of natural lighting.

“Main consideration was given to [Pan Pacific’s] aging BMS system and upgrade to an efficient Building Energy Management System using Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure hardware and software,” said ECO33 Managing Director, Dammica Wickramaratne.

“The new system will control and operate the hotel’s major plant as well as monitor power distribution. ECO33 also have incorporated CO2 monitoring and control to provide consistent flow of fresh air for the benefit of guest health and safety.”

Deeply rooted in science and study, these in-room systems have been designed on the back of extensive studies into human circadian rhythms and guest movement to determine when a room is vacant for an extended period (such as when a guest checks out) so that air conditioning & lighting can be turned off, and blinds can be closed.

Conversely, these systems know when a new guest checks in via the front desk or via a guest’s smartphone, activating the room and preparing it for the guest’s arrival, with the lights on, blinds open, air conditioning on and the television displaying the appropriate welcome message.

The lights might be on, but many people aren’t in their rooms, leading to higher energy bills at the hotel.

Similar functionality is in place across the hotel’s public areas, with different settings automatically taking effect during busier times of the day. Outdoor conditions triggering the indoor systems to respond, daylight harvesting for lighting & air conditioning automatically adjusting the set point to complement the temperature.  

Across the country and the soon-to-launch W Melbourne is readying for its grand opening, which will deliver an energetic boost of culture and New York lifestyle to the Victorian capital. The brand, designed around fashion, design, music and fuel, will feature one of the most sophisticated energy efficient systems seen to this point in Australia.

Guests will be able to configure their comfort preferences via a futuristic glass Schneider Electric touch screen which will remember their preferences and ensure they are in force whenever a guest is approaching their room. On a wider hotel level, the EcoStruxure Building Operation solution syncs with the hotel’s Property Management System to boost guest comfort and deliver real cost savings.

Team members, including the hotel’s Style department, can also monitor a room’s status – whether service is required or if a guest requires privacy – as well as identify when a room is empty to ensure HVAC systems are off if not needed. Schneider Electric EcoXpert partner, mySmart, completed the Hotel Room Controller Solution, which enables full lighting control, curtain control and bedside panel integration for an enhanced guest experience and advanced energy efficiency in luxury hotels.

“When mySmart was designing a solution for W Hotel Melbourne, it was clear that Schneider’s hospitality products were aligned with W Hotel’s goals to set a new standard for guest experiences and lead a new generation of smart buildings in the hospitality space.” said mySmart Managing Director, Peter Garrett.

Whether a historic structure or an entire newbuild, it’s green lights all round for clean energy technology, no longer hampered by physical barriers, in order to deliver real cost benefits to hotel owners and management.