Lights out for climate control

Hot on the heels of Earth Hour, Fairmont Dubai’s green guru, Alka Patel, provides some tips on energy-saving initiatives that will enlighten even the most environmentally-aware hoteliers.
Lights out for climate control
By Alka Patel
Fri 17 Apr 2009 04:00 AM

Last month’s Earth Hour, a global initiative launched by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), invited more than 50 million people, which included all properties in the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts portfolio to turn off their lights for one hour at 8.30pm on Saturday March 28.

Around 2000 cities and towns across more than 80 countries turned off their lights for Earth Hour to cast their vote for action on climate change.

During a low season, consider shutting down an entire wing or area of your property.

In one of my previous articles, I discussed different types of energy-efficient lighting from compact florescent lights (CFLs), whose average lifespan is greater than the lifespan of nine incandescent lights, to lighting emitting diodes, or LEDs — lights that can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in annual energy and maintenance costs.

But how do you measure your energy consumption when it comes to lights? The Green Partnership Guide provides a method for calculation that follows:

1.Calculate the amount of energy used by existing incandescent lamps per day:

Wattage x hours of operation per day = total daily energy use.

2.Calculate the amount of energy used by existing lamps per year:

Total energy daily use x number of days of operation = annual energy use.

3.Calculate the cost of electricity used by existing lamps:

Annual energy use x electricity cost per watt = total electricity costs. (Note: electricity bills usually specify the cost per unit or kilowatt hour: 1 kilowatt-hour is 1000 watts. Therefore divide the cost per kilowatt hour by 1000).

4.Calculate the total costs of purchasing lamps for one full year:

Cost per unit x number of units purchased = annual cost of lamps.

5.Add your total electricity costs to the annual cost of purchasing lamps:

Total electricity costs + annual cost of purchasing lamps = total lighting costs.

There are many other ways to save electricity in your hotel:

Turning the lights off

• Having a switch-off policy will encourage employees to turn off lights when not needed. This is the easiest method to save energy, simply by educating and training your staff.

• To eliminate the use of 24-hour lighting, install a modern detector or photocell in guest hallways, exterior locations and rooms where lights do not need to operate continuously, such as storerooms.

• Where possible, remove unnecessary lighting.

Use light effectively

• The cheapest form of light is natural daylight. Maximise use by removing heavy blinds or curtains. Clean windows and lighting fixtures regularly.

• Light coloured walls reduce the need for artificial lighting.

• In guest rooms, choose lampshades with good reflective and light penetrating qualities. This will decrease the number of lamps required.

• Install sodium or metal halide fixtures in areas with high ceilings and areas with access limitations.

• Replace your parking lot or security lighting with high intensity discharge bulbs.

How to find efficiencies in other areas

• You can save energy not only by turning off the lights, but also by turning off any electrical devices when not in use. During a low season, consider shutting down an entire wing or area of your property.

• Install programmable thermostats.

• Buy only EnergyStar rated appliances and electronics.

• Ensure that weather stripping and caulking are in good condition with no drafts. Also, try looking for areas that could benefit from increased insulation.

For more information on Earth Hour visit www.earthhour.org.Alka Patel is director of communications at Fairmont Dubai Hotel and the property’s ‘eco champion’. Contact: alka.patel@fairmont.com

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