For hotel operators, one of the biggest challenges to overcoming energy waste  can be monitoring energy use in occupied rooms that actually go unoccupied for hours at a time. According to ENERGY STAR, studies have shown that “occupied” hotel rooms are often unoccupied for more than 12 hours a day meaning that guests who leave the lights on or crank the air-con in order to keep things cool (or warm during the winter months) can contribute greatly to unnecessary energy costs.

One of the ways that hotel operators can ensure that empty rooms aren’t sucking the energy (and money) out of their building is by investing in an electronic keycard activation system that shuts off all power-consuming devices when a guest leaves the room. A common feature of rooms in Europe and Asia, according to Green Lodging News, the trend has only started gaining ground in the North American market.

How do electronic keycard systems work?

Entergize, makers of Entergize Key Card Activated Systems and partners with the ENERGY STAR program in the US, suggests that electronic key card activation systems are user friendly and virtually hassle free, taking a mere 30 minutes to install in hotel guest each room. The system itself is relatively straight forward; when guests are inside their hotel room, they must insert their room keycard into an illuminated master control switch that automatically switches the HVAC system from economy (or “unoccupied” mode) to settings that allow for guests to turn lights on at will, and heat or cool according to their needs.

Entergize suggests that using this type of system can reduce pro room energy usage by 25%-45% with a payback of 1-2 years.

The “key” to energy savings: Case and point

Hotels around the world have been saving on energy costs thanks electronic keycard-activated systems such as that produced by Entergize. According to ENERGY STAR, The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh invested $120,000 into a keycard system which allows guests to activate the entry light, bathroom light, pole light and HVAC system upon entry. The hotel saw a payback after just 10 months with an initial savings of 10% energy reduction the first year with greater savings predicted for the future as communication about the system between hotel operators and guests evolve.

Another example of savings gained by installing these so called “Green Key Switches” is that of Aloha Surf Hotel in Waikiki, as published by Hospitality Technology. Installed in all 204 guestrooms in January 2012, the hotel has seen an average of 45% in energy savings on lighting and 50% savings on HVAC systems.

Questions or comments about electronic keycard activation systems? Leave them below!

image credit: Chronovial