Managing Energy Costs in Hotels and Motels

Hotels and Motels

Hotels and motels in the US use an average of 14 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 49 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot (ft2) annually, according to the 2012 Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). Most of the electricity these facilities consume is used for space cooling and lighting (Figure 1); typically, space heating represents their largest use of natural gas. Hotel and motel energy use will vary depending on the types of amenities available.

Average energy use data

Figure 1: Energy consumption by end use
In hotels and motels, office equipment, ventilation, and lighting are the primary consumers of electricity (A) and water heating requires the lion's share of natural gas (B).
Hotel energy consumption by end use

In order to better manage your building’s energy costs, it helps to understand how you are charged for energy. Most utilities charge commercial buildings for natural gas based on the amount of energy delivered. Electricity, on the other hand, can be charged based on two measures: consumption and demand (Figure 2). The consumption component of the bill is based on the amount of electricity (in kWh) that the building consumes during a month. The demand component is the peak demand (in kilowatts) occurring within the month or, for some utilities, during the previous 12 months. Demand charges can range from a few dollars per kilowatt-month to more than $20 per kilowatt-month. Because it can be a considerable percentage of your bill, you should take care to reduce peak demand whenever possible. As you read the following energy cost-management recommendations, keep in mind how each one will affect both your consumption and your demand.

Figure 2: Diagram of a hypothetical daily load shape
Electricity bills for commercial facilities typically feature a consumption component and a demand component. The consumption component is based on the amount of electricity (in kWh) that the building consumes during a month. The demand component is the peak demand (in kW) occurring within the month or, for some utilities, during the previous 12 months.
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Content last reviewed: 
09/19/2016