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Quickly Reducing Energy Costs in Hotels

1. Peripheral and back rooms. Make sure that HVAC settings in lobbies, offices, and other such peripheral rooms are at minimum settings during hours of low use.

2. Laundry. Set laundry hot water temperatures to 120° Fahrenheit. This is a good temperature for all hot water uses outside of the kitchen.

3. Pools and hot tubs. Make sure that all pools and hot tubs are covered after hours to diminish heat loss. Covering a heated pool can save 50 to 70 percent of the pool's energy use, 30 to 50 percent of its makeup water, and 35 to 60 percent of its chemicals.

4. Housekeeping procedures. Encourage housekeepers to turn off all lights and set temperatures to minimum levels after cleaning each room. Closing drapes when a room is unoccupied will reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter.

5. Front desk. Teach registration staff that they can help save energy costs by booking rooms in clusters, so that only occupied building areas or wings need to be heated or cooled to guest comfort levels. Rooms on top floors, at building corners can be the most energy-intensive to heat or cool; therefore, consider renting them last.

6. Computers and office equipment. A computer monitor can use two-thirds of the total energy of a desktop system, so it is important to power down monitors whenever they are not in use.

7. Hallway lighting. If hallways have skylights or other natural light and your lighting has dimming capabilities, dim those lights by 30 percent during daytime hours.

8. Guest service options. Some lodging facilities offer guests the option of forgoing daily linen changes or nightly turndown service. Some guests may not perceive a need for daily sheet and towel replacement or for lights, radios, or televisions to be turned on for them when they are not in the room.

9. Hotel kitchens and laundries can be the most energy-intensive areas by square footage. If you stagger start-up times for meal preparation, you can reduce peak demand charges

In the kitchen, food preparation equipment should not be turned on for preheating more than 15 minutes before it is needed; simply reducing the operating time of kitchen appliances can cut cooking-related energy consumption by up to 60 percent.

10. Replace incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps.  CFL's use 66% less energy than incandescent lamps and they last four times longer.

11. Look for water leaks. Common areas for them are "toilet systems, piping joints, pump seals, hose nozzles, shutoff valves (solenoids and float) and cooling systems."

Test for leaking toilets by adding some food coloring to the tank. Make sure you do not flush the toilet for an hour or so. If the dye shows up in the bowl after that period of time, then you know there is a leak. (Amy Bair)

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