By Dave Perrotta
In the hospitality industry, shutting down operations for power related issues is not an option. Guests expect twenty-four hour service, seven days a week and they don’t want to hear about broken air conditioners or appliances. What many hotel managers don’t understand, however, is that the power flowing through a hotel’s internal energy grid can be unstable and potentially damaging to connected equipment. HVAC systems, concierge computers, hotel room electronics, digital signage, security systems, and other powered products are in constant competition for power and need protection that a simple power strip cannot provide.
Everyday damaging power events such as surges, spikes, over/under voltages, and electromagnetic interference (EMI) occur, and often go unnoticed gradually deteriorating the performance of electronic equipment. For all events that are unseen, the resulting equipment disturbances, errors, malfunctions, downtime and unnecessary replacement can be expensive, and take a toll on guest relations. Taking steps to protect and monitor power will not only safeguard hotel equipment, it can also provide energy intelligence that helps with conservation.
Diagnostic software and energy intelligence tools are now available that demonstrably drive down the cost of using electronics. This gives hotels the ability to centrally enforce energy efficiency polices and manage the power states of workstation PCs, HVAC units, digital signage, kitchen equipment and just about anything else that requires power. Energy and plug load management through an IP network can reduce energy consumption for a hotel and provide a gateway for power monitoring and analysis, which itself can identify power issues or waste.
Hotels often think equipment is protected through the use of a standard power strip or uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) yet these devices provide false protection against surges, spikes and other anomalies. Power strips only offer rudimentary surge protection and a UPS is designed to protect against blackouts and brownouts. This still leaves connected equipment highly vulnerable to power transients and surges. A better alternative is to use premium power protection solutions to ensure reliable performance and to protect against minor and catastrophic power incidents.
Once protected, hotel managers and IT staff can raise their energy intelligence through the integration of energy diagnostics equipment that identifies and tracks the energy consumption of every connected device, and also allows monitoring and control of power by department, location, device type, employee, and more. A key advantage is the ability to reduce energy costs by understanding where energy is being used. For instance, an industrial refrigerator with a broken seal can result in thousands of dollars in wasted energy over the course of it’s lifespan if not repaired but you might never know about it without proper diagnostics technology. Once a problem, condition, or overuse is detected, it can be corrected and energy saving can begin.
Taken from a broad perspective, energy intelligence is a term ESP/SurgeX created to illustrate the importance of monitoring, managing, and solving power-related problems that occur on a daily basis within any business. The term also includes the integration of premium surge protection and expertly designed tools needed to understand and avoid energy waste.
Reducing equipment and energy costs is certainly a benefit, but the more important thing for hotels is delivering on the promise of an exceptional guest experience. An investment in premium power protection and energy intelligence provides immediate and noticeable cost savings for hotels in the short and long-term.