Smart management of hotel properties includes many different factors, and one of these is lighting. It can make or break the ambience of the establishment, and has a high degree of impact on guest comfort. LED lighting makes a significant contribution to a hotel’s operational sustainability in terms of energy use and carbon emissions.
Hotels and Restaurants can benefit from efficient and ambient lighting. Today’s hospitality industry prides itself on conveying a particular brand image, a sense of style, and familiarity. From conveying a feeling of warmth and hospitality in the lobby, ambiance in lift wells and room areas, functional areas demanding safety and simplicity, energy consumption and lighting versatility rank high on the list of requirements.
The Market Stand Globally
Hotels are big business, literally. In the United States alone, hotels comprise more than 5 billion square feet of space, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and spend in excess of $7.5 billion on energy each year, as cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This translates to an average spend of nearly $2,200 per available room each year on energy by the more than 47,000 hotels and motels in America, which, in turn, accounts for around 6 percent of all domestic hotel operating costs.
Given these realities, there exists within the hospitality industr y both a significant opportunity to reduce environmental impact related to energy consumption and a powerful financial incentive to do so. As is always the case with the hotel industry, it is important that any changes result in a healthy, productive, comfortable environment for guests. For both of these reasons, an analysis of trends regarding hotel lighting: accountable for a substantial percentage of energy usage and something that impacts guest perceptions of a space, whether they are cognizant of this fact or not, is a great place for hoteliers to look when contemplating changes that might benefit both their guests and their bottom line.
Leading A New Way
Majorities of travelers who have indicated that they often take the environment into account when making travel decisions and government regulations that are gradually becoming more stringent, the expectations being placed on hoteliers regarding environmentally sensitive construction and operations are rising. For years, one of the defining designations of design has been the USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification system. There has been a seemingly exponential rise in the number of LEED-certified hotels in recent years: In 2008, there were 18 LEED-certified hotels; the number had grown to 141 by 2012, with nearly 1,200 more registered with the intent to certify upon completion.
A Farewell To Incandescent
A shift toward more efficient lighting technologies is one way that many hoteliers are making subtle energy-saving changes, and compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) lamps are playing a big role. While more expensive than incandescent bulbs, these lamps can often pay for themselves through energy and maintenance savings. Additionally, most light fixtures can now accommodate some form of CFL or LED lamp, making it simple for hoteliers to save on energy and maintenance costs while still providing aesthetically pleasing lighting. According to a report by NPD Display Search, the demand for LED lighting was expected to double from 16 million units in 2012 to 33 million in 2013and is expected to triple by 2016.
A Return To Simplicity
Clean, simple and elegant is in. Some hotel design experts have expressed a belief that guests want little in the way of trendy aesthetics and more value for their money. As a result, they expect there will be a shift toward simplified, yet seemingly sophisticated design that combines lighting and architecture as an art form. GE (lighting company) and USG (Interior development company) recently joined forces to create an integrated LED lighting and ceiling system to create a more open, visually appealing ceiling architecture that also combats over lighting, showcasing the sort of thinking that will make “simple and elegant” easily attainable.
Another emerging trend comes from visionary hoteliers creating properties that stretch the collective understanding of what a hotel is. These thought leaders are developing multidimensional hotel concepts designed to create a certain experience by integrating elements from other building types, such as theaters, galleries or restaurants, with more traditional hotel design. What this means for hotel lighting design is that the traditional t-grid and acoustical tile layout that is so commonplace in commercial lighting arrangements will no longer cut it for hotels. As hotel architecture shifts, so too must lighting design to create a unique, appropriate atmosphere that suits a desired brand image and “feel.”
Layered Lighting Designs And Wireless Control
A comprehensive, layered lighting solution will deliver the desired ambient, accent and task lighting to create maximum comfort and aesthetics appropriate to the location and room usage. This sets the stage for more variability in lighting levels to give guests greater control over illumination.
One way to facilitate appropriate lighting for spaces regardless of the hour is to integrate wireless lighting sensors for daylight harvesting together with occupancy sensors. These tools lower energy costs by supplying lighting for a space only when appropriate, and help avoid over-lighting. Wireless sensors reduces the installation time and costs associated with running wires behind walls and ceilings, and makes it simple to reconfigure spaces in the future.
Enhancing Systematic Savings
With sensors and more advanced energy saving techniques, hoteliers are also exploring how they can more comprehensively integrate lighting into building systems. Some hotels now require a room keycard to be inserted into a switch that activates lighting, heating, air conditioning, and even radio or television controls within a room. This simple change limits the amount of energy wasted when systems are activated, but rooms are unoccupied. This is a showcase of one of many ways in which automation can help save on energy costs.
At a time of heightened global and national awareness on wider environmental protection, this presents lighting solution providers across globe with a valuable opportunity to work with the hospitality industry in raising energy efficiency to reduce environmental impact. While there are many trends driving lighting design in the hospitality industry, there are considerations unique to every hotel chain and location that should drive lighting strategy.