Marriott Saves Green by Going Green!

Marriott International is taking energy consumption seriously! A deal was just signed to reduce its hotel energy use, particularly during peak demand. Electric bills will not only decrease but Marriott will earn incentives from utilities as a reward for its efforts during peak periods when utilities struggle to meet demand and have to pay high prices for electricity.

Marriott signed the agreement with Constellation Energy in March 2012 and plans to adopt the energy-saving program at 264 of its hotels, nation-wide. The cuts in electricity use will vary by hotel, depending on the size, climate, geographical location and other factors. Generally, hotels are scheduled to: use less air-conditioning in the hallways, dim the lighting in certain common areas, shut water fountains, rearrange cooling cycles and even close certain elevator banks. Also, certain hotels will reduce energy use in individual rooms that have not been booked, with infrared sensors and motion detectors flagging the central system when rooms are vacant. This energy saving program is expected to generate about $9.9 million in revenue over five years.

For Marriott, the energy saving pact expands its environmental efforts, which started in 2005 with a ‘linen and bedding reuse program’. The sheets and towels would no longer be replaced nightly during a guest’s stay unless requested. The company’s goal, set in 2007, is to decrease energy use at its hotels by 25 percent by 2017. Already, it has been trimmed by 20 percent.

The success of the program will be determined by the customers. “It’s a very thin line, you have to be careful not to alienate your customers” when introducing cost-saving programs, said David Loeb, a senior analyst and managing director at Robert W. Baird & Company. Hotel managers would have to respond quickly if guests were upset and looked for alternatives.