To gain better understanding of energy benchmarking for hotels, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) launched an analysis of the July 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) to review variables impacting onsite energy use in hotels. The results from this analysis revealed changes that could improve benchmarking for various hotel types, onsite equipment, and operations. The new model was developed using the 2012 CBECS data, and validated using data from AHLA member hotels gathered through a recent AHLA survey. Recently the EPA released findings and information on its forthcoming changes to the ENERGY STAR scoring methodology for hotels.
The new model for hotels will include updated adjustments for worker density and room density. The new model uses workers per 1,000-sqft instead of the natural logarithm of workers per 1,000-sqft. Room density is still a strong driver that is calculated based on the number of rooms per 1,000-sqft, but the term was adjusted with cap and floor now applied.
The new model will continue to use the following factors, though adjustments have changed to better normalize energy use between hotels:
- The number of refrigerators and ice makers per 1,000-sqft
- The presence of commercial food prep (yes or no)
- The percentage of a building that is heated and cooled
- The weather and climate where the hotel is located (using heating and cooling degree days)
The EPA’s analysis also included the evaluation of dozens of other variables, including several addressing laundry, occupancy rate, and amount of conference space, however these were found to not be statistically significant in the analysis and therefore aren’t included in the final hotel model.
Lastly, the data for the new model is not based on amenity category (luxury v. economy), because this data is not available in the CBECS. Instead, the model is based on differences in the data points listed above to normalize the ENERGY STAR score across all property types, with a recognition that the characteristics used in the model are effective in taking into account differences among hotels in different amenity categories. To confirm that the new model treats hotels in different amenity categories equitably, the EPA performed extensive testing by segmenting the thousands of hotels currently using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager by brand and amenity category. These hotels were run through the final model, with the results showing that hotel amenity category is not a predictor of a certain ENERGY STAR score.
The new scoring model will launch in Portfolio Manager in August 2018, and could cause some significant changes to the ENERGY STAR score. However, the updates should provide more equitable ENERGY STAR scoring for all hotels.
About the Author
Zack Moore is the senior vice president of customer solutions and co-founder of SOL VISTA, an active participant in the ongoing efforts to refine the scoring system with the EPA and AHLA.