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Lighting Retrofits Help Hotels and Data Centers Cut Energy Costs

fourseasonsphilLighting and compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) retrofits are some of the easiest ways businesses including luxury hotels and data centers can cut their energy costs. Hotel lighting, for example, can account for up to 35 percent of a hotel’s energy bill, reports Hotel Interactive.

Energy-efficient lighting by itself can reduce electricity use by up to 75 percent, according to the California Hotel & Lodging Association (CH&LA).

Other cost-saving upgrades include motion sensors that eliminate wasted energy, skylights in lobbies and meeting rooms that make use of natural light, and dimmer switches that can cut down on the lighting intensity during daytime hours, according to Hotel Interactive.

As an example, Pineapple Hospitality, a distributor of green products for the hospitality industry, offers a host of energy-efficient lighting solutions including CFL bulbs and key-card energy management systems that allow guests to control the energy in their rooms through inserting their key cards.

Some of Pineapple Hospitality partnerships have yielded significant savings. For example, the Seaport Hotel has installed energy-conserving CFLs in all of its guestrooms and public space fixtures with a total of 2,012 light fixture replacements throughout the hotel and its partner facility, The Seaport World Trade Center, reports Hotel Interactive.

The Seaport also installed motion sensors in housekeeping linen closets, allowing the lighting system to shut off when no motion is detected for 30 seconds. With these installations, Seaport told Hotel Interactive that it has saved 1.9 million kilowatt hours annually, comparing 2004 to 2008.

Marvin Dixon, director of engineering for the Four Seasons Philadelphia, also told Hotel Interactive that every lighting project undertaken has paid itself back in less than a year, and has reduced overall energy consumption by 20 percent since 2005. The Four Seasons converted all possible light bulbs in the hotel to CFLs.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers recently published a guide that offers hotels design tips for energy savings including lighting.

Data Centers can also achieve cost savings through careful lighting retrofits. Ray Dableh, director of research and development at Fifth Light Technology, told Processor, that data center and IT managers should think about lighting as a way to cut costs.

Dableh said in the article that data centers generally don’t focus on lighting because it represents a very small fraction of the total load in the facility unlike commercial buildings, where lighting represents 20 to 40 percent of the total electrical load.

Although lighting retrofits in data centers are very labor-intensive, with the need for special consideration to air quality and security, Dableh told Processor, some simple strategies can conserve energy in these applications such as retrofitting to a more efficient ballast in combination with a lower power bulb.

But Dableh said the best way to save is to convert the lighting system from a static system to a dynamic system that offers intelligent control.

Jeff Bisberg, president and co-founder of Albeo Technologies agreed that lighting only plays a small part in a data center, maybe about 5 percent of the energy consumption, but says many data centers are overlit, reports Processor.

Bisberg said in the article that by installing motion sensors in the server room it can save a data center up to 75 percent of the lighting load.

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