Technology used to reduce energy use – seems like a good idea. Why isn’t this technique being used everywhere?
American hotels have long resisted key cards or other energy-saving systems. Energy was cheap, and hoteliers feared that guests, who routinely left their rooms with the lights and air-conditioner on, would see any check on their energy use as an inconvenience.
Hotel guests “have a feeling that they paid for the space and they can use it freely, and there’s a natural tendency not to be too conscious of their energy use,” said Brian Carberry, a director of product management for Leviton Manufacturing Company, of Melville, N.Y., which makes key card switches and other energy-saving devices for hotels.
But the aversion of hoteliers in the United States is slowly shifting as Americans have become more energy conscious and more states and municipalities have adopted rigorous building codes for energy use.
In 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, 29 percent of hotels surveyed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association had a sensor system in guest rooms to control the temperature, compared with less than 20 percent in 2004; and more than 75 percent had switched to LED lighting, up from less than 20 percent. Other energy-saving measures had also been more widely adopted.
Energy costs typically represent 4 to 6 percent of a hotel’s overall operating expenses, with the largest share for heating and air-conditioning.
Many major hotels in the United States have digitally controlled thermostats to monitor the temperature in guest rooms, said Pat Maher, a retired Marriott executive who is a consultant to hotels on energy management.
And a growing number, he said, have installed sophisticated systems that sense when a room is occupied. When a hotel guest enters a room, the device allows the temperature to be manually controlled within a certain range — from 60 to 80 degrees, for example — and then sets it back into an energy-saving mode when the room is vacant again.
Mr. Maher said such a system could save a hotel 20 percent or more in energy costs. And many utility companies, he noted, now offer rebates to hotels that have installed digital thermostats and other energy management devices.
I fail to see the downside to this idea, other than the hotel’s investment in the new technology, but even that seems like it would be recouped sooner than later. Would you really care if the lights were off when you entered your hotel room? And the air-conditioning wasn’t cranked to 63ºF? I wouldn’t.
Strikers at the Congress Plaza Hotel, 520 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605
Wow, that’s unexpected. Sounds like the Union caved, but perhaps I’m wrong.
A 10-year strike at the Congress Plaza hotel in downtown Chicago, believed to be the longest hotel strike in history, has ended.
A attorney for the hotel said Unite Here Local 1, the union representing cleaning and maintenance workers, has offered an unconditional return to work as of midnight Wednesday.
The union confirmed Thursday morning that it is ending the strike.
“The decision to end the Congress strike was a hard one, but it is the right time for the union and the strikers to move on,” Unite Here Local 1 President Henry Tamarin said in a statement. “The boycott has effectively and dramatically reduced the hotel’s business. … There is no more to do there.”
Tamarin said when the strike started, the standard wage for room attendants was $8.83 per hour — a wage contract workers still make. The city wide standard for room attendants is now $16.40 an hour, he said.
I can’t say I often enjoy staying in hotels, usually because if I’m staying in one, I’m on a business trip, and am stressed out by it. Jacob Tomsky, a hotel lifer, has come up with ten small tidbits to make your stay more pleasant, including this one:
6. NEVER, EVER PAY FOR THE MINIBAR.
Minibars. Most people are appalled at the prices. However, you never have to pay for the items in the minibar. Why not? Minibar charges are, without question, the most disputed charges on any bill. That is because the process for applying those charges is horribly inexact. Keystroke errors, delays in restocking, double stocking, and hundreds of other missteps make minibar charges the most voided item. Even before guests can manage to get through half of the “I never had those items” sentence, I have already removed the charges and am now simply waiting for them to wrap up the overly zealous denial so we can both move on with our lives.
7. BOOK ON A DISCOUNT SITE, GET A DISCOUNT EXPERIENCE.
Reservations made through Internet discount sites are almost always slated for our worst rooms. Does this seem unfair? First of all, we earn the slimmest profit from these reservations. And honestly, those guests didn’t really choose our property based on quality; they chose based on value. We were at the top of a list sorted by price. But the guest behind them in line, the one with a heavy $500 rate, she selected this hotel. When she comes to New York, she goes to our website to see what’s available. Since we have no reason to assume Internet guests will ever book with us again, unless our discount is presented to them, it truly makes business sense to save our best rooms for guests who book of their own volition.
You really should read Roger Ebert’s delightful memoir of the eccentric1 hotel on London’s Jermyn Street, originally called Eyrie Mansion.
That first morning I walked down Regent Street to St James’s Park, strolled around the ponds, came up by Prince Charles’s residence, climbed St James’s Street and returned the full length of Jermyn. I ordered tea. It consisted of tomato, cucumber and butter sandwiches, which the English are unreasonably fond of; ham and butter sandwiches, which I am unreasonably fond of with Colman’s English mustard; and cookies – or, excuse me, biscuits.
I had just settled in my easy chair when a key turned in the lock and a nattily dressed man in his 60s let himself in. He held a bottle of Teacher’s scotch under his arm. He walked to the sideboard, took a glass, poured a shot, and while filling it with soda from the siphon, asked me, “Fancy a spot?”
“I’m afraid I don’t drink,” I said.
This man sat on my sofa, lit a cigarette, and said: “I’m Henry.”
“Am I . . . in your room?”
“Oh, no, no, old boy! I’m only the owner. I dropped in to say hello.”
This was Henry Togna Sr. He appears in a Dickens novel I haven’t yet read. I’m sure of it. He appeared in my room almost every afternoon when I stayed at the Eyrie Mansion. It was not difficult to learn his story.
Though actually, when I spent a fortnight in London, the hotel had already switched hands to Henry Jr., and had lost a bit of its eccentricity. Not all mind you, but I might not have been able to afford staying there. Too bad.
(oh, almost forgot, this article originally appeared at Ebert’s blog, slightly longer, with more pictures. Really, the longer article is better, filled with more interesting details. You should read that instead…)
A few interesting links collected September 1st through September 2nd:
Will Chicago See a Hotel Strike? – Chicagoist – Chicago's hotel workers are clocking in today without a union contract, as negotiators from UNITE-HERE Local 1 and the Hotel Employers Labor Relations Association has yet to reach an agreement on a new pact. The previous contract expired at last night at midnight. “It’s been a fight to even just get to the table,” a spokeswoman for the hotel workers’ union told Crain's. “We’re not close, and I think we’re looking at the possibility of a major fight.”
JONNY GREENWOOD: They sound fine to me"
I would add, they sound fine if they are recorded at a high enough sample rate.
Washington Post Crashed-and-Burned-and-Smoking Watch – And if it is indeed the case that the Washington Post is recycling the public views of ideologues, hacks, and torture-tourists like Marc Thiessen as inside scoops, then Finn, Warrick, and Tate granted anonymity to their sources because naming them would by itself discredit the story. There is a place for anonymous quotes in journalism, but this is not it.
My neighbor, Donnie Madia1 wants to open a “green” bed and breakfast over in my old stomping grounds (I lived on Paulina and Cortez in the mid-1990s). Cool, hope he succeeds.
A local builder would like to covert a building near Division and Paulina into a boutique, eco-friendly hotel with retail offerings.
Dan Sheehy of Third Coast Construction imagines the project including a small restaurant on the first floor, shopping and a 13-room hotel.
Sheehy and his partners want to develop the project in the building at 1659 W. Division, which currently houses Pump Shoes and Accessories. The shoe store is under a long term lease.
If the plans are approved by 1st Ward Alderman Manny Flores and the city council, construction isn’t expected to begin for 14 to 16 months.
Sheehy presented his plans to neighbors at a recent meeting of the East Village Association, and got a warm response.
Previously, the EVA board unanimously voted not to oppose a special-use zoning permit that the hotel would need to open. After a half hour presentation, EVA’s general membership unanimously agreed with the board’s decision.
“The entrance to the building will be on Paulina Ave., giving the hotel a ‘neighborhood feel,'” Sheehy said at the meeting.
“We love the building and we’re not going to tear it down,” Sheehy said. “It’s almost like a call-back – we’re going to re-create it.” The building had in the ’70s functioned as a tavern and a restaurant.
Sheehy, who focuses on sustainable developments, is planning to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for the building and expedite processing of building permits through the city’s green permit program.