Hotel Energy Consumption Can Be Reduced Significantly

Monday, 22 March 2010 00:00 News Editor
Important Energy Savings Information Shared with Hoteliers

The results are in from a first round of energy audits recently conducted on hotels in The Bahamas and Jamaica and they reveal that many hotels can save 25-30 percent of their energy costs by putting in place practical short and long-term improvements and efficiencies to their operations according to global energy efficiency experts who conducted the audits.

The audits were conducted in cooperation with the Bahamas Hotel Association (BHA) as part of a regional project supported by the Inter-American Development Bank's Greenpyme program.  The program is funded by the IDB Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) and headed by Carlos Serrano who was recently in The Bahamas for a workshop with participating hoteliers.

Workshop presenters included the auditors Andreas Karner, KWI Consultants & Engineers, an Austrian-based firm and Eaton Haughton, Econergy Engineering Services out of Jamaica.  They provided detailed information on their findings and recommendations of specific areas where hotel savings can be realized.

"By putting in place Energy Management Systems now, most hotels would begin to see immediate savings and within 3 years could see energy costs reduced by 25-30 percent" they indicated.  They listed typical energy conservation measures and outlined specific steps which could be undertaken to realize a 'payback' period for putting the improvements in place.  Estimated payback periods for the various measures were identified.

The list of typical energy conservation measures they focused on included:

1.       Inefficient lights replacement

2.       Install power factor correction units

3.       Install timer on swimming pool pump motor

4.       Install water to refrigerant heat exchanger on cooling systems.

5.       Install diesel generators heat exchangers to heat water (cogeneration).

6.       Install solar water heaters

7.       Install high energy efficiency ratio (EER) cooling systems.

8.       Retrofit air conditioners with hydrocarbon refrigerant.

Details can be found on their PowerPoint presentation which is posted on BHA's website.

"These audits were conducted late last year.  BHA is awaiting the results of 18 additional hotel audits throughout the country which were conducted last year and this January and February as part of a program BHA has supported which is being undertaken by the Government of The Bahamas in cooperation with the IDB.  It is believed that the results will mirror those of the ones just completed and will provide additional information on how energy is used and efficiencies can be realized by hotels in different size and location categories" according to BHA's Executive Vice President Frank Comito.  The participating hotels in that project have already received specific feedback on their audits.

Helping hotels to address high operating costs is a high priority of BHA.  Industry research which was conducted several years ago revealed that when comparing power, utility and mechanical costs for a Bahamas hotel operator, measured against a similar sized operation and same accounting system for a hotel in Jamaica and one in Chicago, Illinois, that the Bahamas hotel power and utility related operations costs were 36 percent higher than the Jamaica operation and 114 percent higher than the US operation.  "Sustaining an operation and being price competitive with room rates is extremely challenging with those cost variables" states Comito.

Since that time BHA has advanced a number of initiatives to address energy costs including: an earlier audit and improvement project which several hotels participated in and realized savings from; work with BEC to revise the peak-demand meter reading practice; a series of ongoing energy efficiency and environmental management systems workshops; and advancing public policy changes to eliminate duties on energy-savings equipment, some which have already been put in place for solar and lighting.

"We applaud the policy changes implemented by Government in recent years" stated Comito at the workshop. "But there is a greater sense of urgency which all of us must have to tackle this problem head on.  There is more that can be done immediately by many hotels which doesn't need to wait for new government policy or sources of capitalization for retrofitting and energy efficient equipment" adds Comito.

Two months ago BHA and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce submitted joint comment to the Government with detailed recommendations on The Bahamas National Energy Policy Committee's Draft National Energy Policy Framework.  The organizations commended the Committee and the Government for the comprehensive approach being advanced and offered but called for a greater sense of urgency in addressing a number of the recommendations implementing policy changes in the draft, particularly regarding broadening the list of equipment and devices where duty should be reduced or eliminated to realize savings and also to allow for net metering to be put in place. These recommendations can be viewed on BHA's website.

Additional energy-saving tips and fact sheets can be found on BHA's website by going to:

Windows & Doors - A Primer

Solar Photovoltaics - Primer

Powering Tourism USAID Report

Heating - Solar water heater - Hotel Motel - India

Energy Efficient Thermostats & Controls

Energy Efficient Pumps

Energy Efficient Motors - Technical Brief

Energy Efficiency Measures - Commercial - Lights - Compact Fluorescent Light

Caribbean Energy Efficiency-Savings Info for Hotels-Business-Residences