Hotels and LED retrofit: Savings from increased efficiencies drop to the bottom line - by George Crawford

August 07, 2018 - Owners Developers & Managers
George Crawford,
Green Partners

Hotels considering a LED retrofit would logically focus primarily on the potential for savings – significant reductions in their electric utility bills. These savings are substantial, to say the least, and in most cases, would cover the LED retrofit cost in less than two years. But what about another very compelling benefit that is often not included in the analysis for a LED retrofit. This benefit is tied directly to the very long useful lives and the warranty periods for quality LED products.

Imagine a scenario for a 200-room hotel where there were no lamp changes  – not one – for a period of five years. The implications of a “no lamp change” period of five years for a 200-room hotel would be nothing short of huge for maintenance and also purchasing.

As a start, think of the lighting in the guest rooms. In the average 200 room hotel, expect 1,500 60 Watt incandescent A19s. These 60 Watt bulbs, common to every household, have a useful life of only 2,000 hours (three months – constant use). On average, expect these 1,500 lamps to fail at least once a year.  For the maintenance staff, this equates to 1,500 lamp changes in the guest rooms annually. Compare that to the LED A19 replacement lamps for 60 Watt bulbs. These LED replacement lamps only consume 9 Watts (as opposed to 60 Watts) and come with a guaranteed five-year life  (50,000 hours). No changes for at least five years – backed by a five-year warranty.

Then move on to the 400 incandescent 50 Watt MR 16s – used for ceiling lighting in the hallways, conference, meeting rooms and lobby areas. These incandescent 50 Watt MR 16 lamps have a useful life of less than one year (5,000 hours). Since these lamps are located in ceilings, each replacement requires a ladder or a lift - at least 400 times every year. The replacement is a 9 Watt LED MR16 with a guaranteed life of over 5 years (50,000 hours) – 10 times longer than the incandescent MR 16.

 In terms of the five-year electric utility savings for just these two products – 1,500 A19s (for guest rooms)  and 400 MR16s  (ceilings) for the average 200-room hotel.    Math follows:

• Rooms 1,500 Lamps - 60 Watt A19 Lamps - five-year cost of operation (.24 rate)  $946.080.    

• Rooms 1,500 lamps - 10 Watt LED lamps -  5 year cost of operation  (.24 rate) $157,680.

• Five-year electric savings in the guest rooms - $788,400.

• Ceilings 400 lamps - 50 Watt MR16 lamps - five-year cost of operation (.24 rate)  $210,240.00

• Ceilings 400 lamps - 7.5 Watt LED Lamps  - five-year cost of operation (.24 rate)  $32,400.                                

• Five-year savings for ceiling lighting - $177,840.

In just these two lamp categories, the total five-year estimated savings would total $966,240.00 – almost $200,000 a year in electric savings – not to mention the long lamp life for significantly less maintenance time devoted to lamp changes.

These savings from increased efficiencies drop to the bottom line. These savings become an increase to profits. Importantly, these increased profits are based on operational savings, not increases in room rates to hotel guests. Another important consideration in terms of a LED retrofit is Local Law 88 and 134. Literally every hotel, as well all buildings in excess of 25,000 s/f, are required to upgrade their lighting to LED. This upgrade must be completed by the end of 2024. Given the lead time involved in any LED retrofit, the smart move is to start the process now, so it can be completed in a measured way - not a last minute rush job.

Additionally, Con Ed is currently offering funding for LED upgrades for hotels and other commercial facilities. In the case of the 200 room hotel used here in this example, the current rebate would be approximately $26,000. To qualify your LED upgrade for a rebate, you will need to work with a Con ED market partner.

A final suggestion for a successful project – work with a quality vendor who is a Con Ed market partner. Insist on installed samples of proposed LED products and only use quality LED products from name manufacturers, backed by their warranties of five years or more. Quality products are the key to the success of any retrofit.

George Crawford is the principal of Green Partners, New York, N.Y

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