What is the Bottom Line from a Greener Footprint and Pampered Guests? White Lodging Records Superior Guest Experience with Double-Digit Energy Savings
May 5, 2015 – Travelers become guests for life when a hotel offers them an experience tailored to their needs. This is why guest comfort tops the list of reasons why White Lodging chose leading-edge energy management systems (EMS) from INNCOM®by Honeywell. “Ensuring a high level of guest comfort and satisfaction is always our first priority at White Lodging. The INNCOM thermostats help us meet this goal while we also realize excellent energy savings,” says Thomas D. Riegelman, CFM, White Lodging vice president of engineering & facilities management. “INNCOM’s smart thermostat with occupancy detection has been a standard for most of our new builds since 2011 and we have retrofits underway.”
White Lodging is a hospitality development, ownership, and management company with more than 160 premium-branded, select, and full service hotels in 21 states. All White Lodging managed properties are branded hotels that include Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, and IHG flags.
Greener footprint, cash flow benefits ‘start on day one’
INNCOM delivers significant energy efficiencies and a greener footprint, according to Riegelman. “We start getting energy savings the minute we install the system. White Lodging reaps savings from several levels of INNCOM’s line of energy management solutions. These range from installations of standalone digital smart thermostats to fully networked, property-wide smart solutions that interface with Property Management and other third-party systems.
INNCOM maximizes energy savings
White Lodging’s Marriott Courtyard/Residence Inn Austin relies on INNCOM’s fully integrated network EMS to optimize energy conservation and savings. INNCOM’s state-of-the-art wireless Deep Mesh RF network technology provides high-speed communication to automatically monitor and control the thermostat in each guest room. “You can absolutely track in real time what goes on with the heating and cooling in every room,” notes Riegelman, “But with INNCOM’s software, you don’t have to. We know the automated system is maximizing our energy savings because we verify the improvement.” The INNCOM network solution has lowered energy costs by $79,459 in just the first 7 months of operation for a 37% savings at the Austin property.
INNCOM monitors guest comfort and safety from check-in to departure
“Guest comfort is more important to White Lodging than energy savings,” Riegelman said. Each guest experiences seamless environmental comfort from check-in to departure. INNCOM’s INNcontrol 3 near-real-time reporting server links energy management components with the property management system (PMS) and automated door locks to ensure guests are always comfortable. This is how it works:
When a guest checks in, the PMS signals the INNCOM EMS to automatically activate temperature controls to heat or cool the room to a comfortable set point. “It is our experience that when guests see an appropriate set point and are comfortable, they rarely touch the thermostat,” says Riegelman. “If they want to change the temperature, INNCOM has clear, easy-to-use controls that are an essential part of guest comfort. The system smoothly operates heat pumps, cooling coils, and fans. Ease of use for guests is the first feature to look for in selecting a thermostat.”
Occupancy sensors integrated in the thermostat and door lock detect when a guest is physically in the room. “If the room is temporarily unoccupied, the thermostat automatically drops back to an energy-saving temperature setting,” said Riegelman. “Sensors trigger the thermostat to return to a property configurable set point when the guest reenters the room. This process takes place without any active management by hotel staff.”
Door lock sensors signal an alert when a guest room door is left ajar. “This is an INNCOM security benefit that enables us to provide a higher level of guest service,” says Riegelman. Properties can also opt for door sensors that signal the thermostat to automatically shut off when guests open patio or deck doors, then resume heating or cooling when doors are closed.
The INNCOM EMS activates system notifications for heating or cooling alerts if room temperature moves outside the norm for a predetermined period. “If a room experiences a temperature control issue, our quickly engineers know about it and can proactively address the problem before the guest calls for assistance,” says Riegelman.
At checkout, the thermostat automatically goes into setback mode at the most efficient temperature. “If housekeeping or other staff go into a room and change the temperature, it does not affect the setback,” explains Riegelman. “The temperature will stay optimal until someone else checks in so guests are always comfortable.”
Standalone thermostat delivers 22% energy use reduction
White Lodging also reaped considerable savings at its select service Hyatt Place Austin. The hotel recently installed INNCOM standalone digital guest room thermostats with occupancy detection. “This very simple, cost-effective implementation produced 22.4% reduction in energy use,” says Riegelman.
“White Lodging operates many property types from full service JW Marriotts and Westins to smaller Select Service hotels. We follow our franchisor energy conservation initiatives. Aloft, for example, requires that thermostats have occupancy sensors such as INNCOMs. Hyatt has similar design mandates. INNCOM provides EMS solutions for all of our hotel types,” he said.
The first White Lodging properties to use INNCOM were retrofit properties. “Today we install INNCOM systems in almost all of our new-build hotels. We recently installed an INNCOM networked EMS interfaced with our PMS and locking system at our new JW Marriott in Austin.”
Customer support & innovation make INNCOM ‘more than just a thermostat in a box’
Riegelman’s history with INNCOM networked systems began while he was VP of Engineering at Hyatt Corporation and the owners of the Hyatt Regency in Maui agreed to test a system with automatic thermostat and door lock sensors in the mid-1990s. “Hawaii had the highest utility costs in the United States, and so the system delivered a very quick payback.”
“We continue to implement INNCOM’s systems because of the company’s professionalism and customer support along with the effective technology the company continues to develop,” says Riegelman. “INNCOM is more than just a vendor that provides a thermostat in a box. It is part of a connected, fully integrated system that benefits our guests and White Lodging’s bottom line.”