Deep Freeze: Drinks, Ice, and Hotel Energy Waste

Ice and vending machines are about as indispensable to hotels as sheets and towels – a basic amenity and one of the most standard conveniences for ensuring guest comfort. Yet they’re also major contributors to hospitality energy costs. According to MACH Energy’s 2016 Hotel Industry Survey: Energy and Water Management Best Practices, reducing these types of cost burdens are the highest energy priority for 93 percent of hotel operators. Here’s how to put the chill on these energy wasters:

Vending machines. Because they operate continuously, one refrigerated vending machine can consume up to 4,400 kWh annually. At $0.10/kWh, this can cost up to $440 per machine per year. To reduce consumption, simple control devices can be installed that turn off vending-machine refrigeration and lighting when guests are not present and when temperature levels are low enough that refrigeration is not needed. Control devices have resulted in vending-machine energy savings ranging from 24 to 76 percent, with paybacks of less than three years.

Ice machines. Since ice production is typically coincident with utility peak periods, there’s significant demand-saving potential in scheduling ice-making during off-peak hours. Energy Star–qualified ice makers with oversized storage bins can produce and store enough ice during off-peak hours to meet the daily cubes demand, resulting in a direct reduction in energy consumption.

Smart refrigerators. Guest-room refrigerators waste energy if they’re on when the room is unoccupied. To help reduce energy consumption, manufacturers are designing “smart” fridges that enter an energy-saving mode after 48 hours of non-use but then return to standard settings as soon as the door is opened. According to manufacturers, upgrading to a smart fridge could save as much as 50 percent of energy consumption compared to a conventional mini-fridge.

Interested in more simple operational improvements to reduce hotel energy consumption and improve guest comfort? Click here to download the entire MACH Energy 2016 Hotel Industry Survey: Energy and Water Management Best Practices.