Home Energy Management Boston Hoteliers Find it Difficult to Say ‘No’ to NSTAR Program

Boston Hoteliers Find it Difficult to Say ‘No’ to NSTAR Program


BOSTON—Through a program that includes electric and gas utility NSTAR and electrical supplies distributor Munro Distributing Company, Inc., Boston area hotels are benefiting from LED lamps at no cost to them. The program began this fall and bulbs must be installed by the end of 2011. According to Jeffrey Pollock, manager energy efficient marketing for NSTAR, the LED program most likely will be continued in 2012.

NSTAR customers are funding the program. NSTAR currently transmits and delivers electricity and gas to 1.1 million customers in Massachusetts, and gas to nearly 300,000 in that state. Munro Distributing is supplying the bulbs that are made by various manufacturers.

“We’ve got about 15 hotels completed and 15 to 20 projects in the installation process,” says Noah Thompson, business development manager, Munro Distributing. “Another 25 to 30 hotels are in the mockup or approval process. We tried it in downtown Boston first. We are just finishing up that area.”

Thompson says 75,000 lamps already have been given away. That number should hit 100,000 by the end of 2011. Those lamps are expected to reduce the lighting-related energy load of Boston hotels by 10 million kWh.

Many Benefits to LEDs

“The beauty of the LEDs is that they provide high quality lighting,” NSTAR’s Pollock says. “The bulbs allow the hotels to maintain a warm and friendly atmosphere. They provide tremendous efficiency opportunities. In many cases they can save 50 to 80 percent of lighting costs. The bulbs have a long life compared to incandescent and CFLs—up to five to 10 years. The LEDs are 100 percent recyclable. Hotels also have the opportunity to reduce their maintenance exposure. At the end of the day it is a win-win for us and our customers.”

LED lamps currently available through the program include PAR 38, PAR 30, PAR 20, MR 16, A 19, and Candelabra. In some cases bulb wattages can be reduced from 75 watts to 18 watts or 60 watts to 12 watts.

Hotels have been installing the LED bulbs first in areas where bulbs burn 24 hours a day—common areas such as lobbies, for example. “Initially we thought it would be more cookie-cutter but every hotel has different needs,” Munro’s Thompson says. “The performance has been fantastic. We have had dimming issues in a few hotels and just a few bulb failures.”

At the 424-room InterContinental Boston, an audit of the entire hotel’s lighting was conducted once the engineering team learned about the LED program. “We came up with 18,600 bulbs that qualified for replacements,” says Vasco Foster, director of engineering at the hotel. As part of the retrofit, 116 50 watt MR 16s per floor were replaced with 6 watt MR 20s. One hundred watt PAR 38s were replaced with 18 watt LED equivalents. In guestrooms, 65 watt incandescent bulbs were replaced with 12.5 watt A 19 bulbs.

“We are looking for 1.9 million kWh a year in energy savings,” Foster says. “We expect to have a 20 to 24 percent total savings in electricity next year.”

Logistical Challenge to Replace Bulbs

Replacing 18,600 bulbs was a bit of a logistical challenge. “That took a lot of meetings, coordination, scheduling, and coming up with a game plan,” Foster says. “We met with all of our engineers. We worked around the clock to get it done.”

In addition to the benefits mentioned by NSTAR’s Pollock, Foster says the LEDs do not put out a lot of heat which helps on cooling costs. The bulbs are recyclable and, unlike compact fluorescents, do not include mercury. “There are a lot of benefits,” Foster says. “Guests are inconvenienced less because of bulb replacement. The bulbs fit in all the cans and they are dimmable right off the bat.”

At the 1,220-room Sheraton Boston, Jeff Hanulec, director of engineering, says the hotel has received 1,600 bulbs—$70,000 worth—as part of the NSTAR program. The bulbs have been installed in the main lobby, in a main entrance area, in guestroom entrance areas, and in a restaurant.

“It was a no brainer to participate in the program,” Hanulec says. “We changed the bulbs in three days. It has had a huge impact. Light levels have increased and, in some cases, bulb wattages have decreased from 100 to 18.”

Go to NSTAR and Munro Distributing.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.