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Mainstream Motel Optimization


According to ENERGY STAR® (pdf), hotels/motels in the United States spend about 6 percent of their overall operating costs on energy use, translating into about $2,200 per room on average. A 2011 MnTAP study of 27 Minnesota motels/hotels determined the electric and gas end-use estimates shown in Figures 1 and 2.

Average Electricty Use Footprint Pie Chart

Figure 1. Average Electricity Use Footprint (Source: Minnesota Technical Assistance Program , University of Minnesota, 2011, "Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency for Minnesota's Lodging Sector," sponsored by US EPA, EPA X0-00E95201-0)

Average Natural Gas Use Footprint Pie Chart

Figure 2. Average Natural Gas Use Footprint (Source: Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, University of Minnesota, 2011, "Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency for Minnesota's Lodging Sector," sponsored by US EPA, EPA 9-00E95201-0)

While significant energy savings are possible in the motel sector due to 24-hour operation and the variety of energy using services/amenities offered, there are significant challenges to achieving energy savings, including the lack of downtime and concerns over reducing guest comfort. The goal of the Motel Optimization CARD grant awarded to Michaels Energy is to develop and pilot a deep energy savings program for midscale motels through a combination of technical recommendations, ENERGY STAR benchmarking and certifications, and new research seeking to connect energy efficiency with increased guest comfort and satisfaction. The project will use energy audits and survey methods to understand what effects energy efficiency measures installed in Minnesota motels have on energy use and on guest experiences. 

This study will be conducted in several steps:

  1. An initial literature, utility program, and technical measure review, including the development of field techniques and tools;
  2. In-depth assessments on five motels, including blower door tests and guest surveys;
  3. Implementation of a pilot program in 45 additional motels statewide, including benchmarking, a detailed technical audit, and additional support to implement recommended measures; and
  4. Analysis and synthesis of results in a final report with suggestions for incorporating a hotel/motel program into existing utility CIPs.

The Motel Optimization project is due to be completed by the end of June 2015. For more information, contact project manager Laura Silver, or CARD grant program administrator Mary Sue Lobenstein.