As energy prices rise and the issue of global warming becomes more important to the public, businesses throughout the country are looking to reduce their energy consumption and their carbon footprints. By improving energy performance, owners and operators of commercial properties can reduce operating expenses while demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship that customers are starting to expect. The lodging industry, in particular, has demonstrated a renewed interest in energy efficiency and resource conservation, with many hoteliers incorporating these goals into their core business strategies.
One important “green” strategy is the development of procurement policies that encourage the purchase of high-efficiency products. When designing these policies, hoteliers should look for products bearing the ENERGY STAR label—indicating that the manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to meet strict energy efficiency specifications set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. For more than a decade, the ENERGY STAR label has served as the symbol for superior energy performance, and the prestigious cyan-blue logo is one of the most recognized consumer product labels in the United States (second only to the Good Housekeeping seal).
For the lodging industry, televisions are a prime target for energy-conscious procurement, since most of the 4.4 million guestrooms in the United States typically contain at least one TV set (not to mention the numerous TVs located in lobbies, bars, fitness centers, and other common areas). By requiring the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified TVs—which are up to 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional models—hotel companies can help to reduce the estimated 50 billion kWh that are required to power the country’s 275 million TV sets each year. Many hoteliers have already chosen to include ENERGY STAR TVs in their procurement policies, and are enjoying the resulting savings in operating costs.
New Specifications for TVs
Beginning in November 2008, EPA will introduce a revised specification for ENERGY STAR qualified TVs. This new set of requirements takes into account changes in display technologies and consumer viewing habits. The new specification will be more stringent than past requirements, addressing energy consumption during both standby and active modes. In anticipation of these new requirements going into effect, manufacturing partners have begun sharing data on their products that meet the forthcoming EPA specifications. These products represent some of the most efficient products on the market today and can be found at: www.energystar.gov/ia/products/prod_lists/tv_vcr_prod_list.xls.
It is estimated that if all TVs sold in the United States met the new ENERGY STAR specification, annual savings in energy costs would grow to around $1 billion, with annual greenhouse gas savings equivalent to removing 1 million cars from the road.
The launch of the new specification comes at a time when many hotel companies may be thinking about replacing or upgrading their guestroom TVs. To start, hoteliers must consider the pending switch from analog to digital transmission signals, effective February 17, 2009. Additionally, many hoteliers are looking to install newer, sleeker, higher-resolution models as a competitive differentiator. The ENERGY STAR website provides a broad range of tools and resources that can assist hoteliers in making these purchase decisions, including lists of qualified models and manufacturers, and TV-specific procurement language.
It is important to note that the purchase of ENERGY STAR qualified products is only one component of a successful whole-building energy management program. Leading hotel organizations understand that high level corporate commitment and a strategic approach to energy management are the necessary first steps for achieving cost-effective energy performance improvements across a portfolio of properties. Hotel companies are encouraged to join ENERGY STAR as corporate partners, and to begin using program tools and resources such as the ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management and the Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool to develop energy management programs and track energy performance. Active partners can also leverage the power of the ENERGY STAR brand to communicate their accomplishments, and to demonstrate to guests a commitment to “green” improvements.
To learn more about ENERGY STAR, from qualified products to strategic guidance for whole-building energy management, visit www.energystar.gov.
Anna Stark is the national program manager for commercial property markets, ENERGY STAR, United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Katharine Kaplan is the product manager for consumer electronics, ENERGY STAR, United States Environmental Protection Agency.