US Marriott hotels move to smarter energy management

Marriott International hopes to cut its electricity use and bills through automated energy management at 250-plus hotels across the eastern US, Texas and California.

Working with Constellation Energy, the hotel chain plans to develop more than 23 megawatts of load response capability. That means it could automatically adjust its energy consumption by that amount when wholesale electricity prices go too high, demand stresses the local grid or other issues threaten to affect power reliability.

“Marriott International sees this program as a direct link to our global sustainability efforts,” said Robert Bahl, vice president of engineering and facilities for Marriott International, Americas. “In addition to load response, the associated automation of this program will help to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of our hotels, saving an estimated 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.”

Marriott plans to use Constellation Energy’s VirtuWatt energy management system in combination with existing building automation systems at its hotels to keep better track of electricity use, participate in demand response markets and automate the reduction of power loads. Constellation will also offer financing options to hotels that want to defray the upfront cost of demand response upgrades.

The two companies began working on a load response analysis and pilot program in 2010. Rolled out at 17 Marriott properties, the pilot was used to identify technology requirements and lay the groundwork for a national program.

“Providing properties access to real-time usage data and responsive automation capability will allow Marriott to maximize energy market revenue and savings opportunities, and in a challenging economic climate, do so with the most efficient use of capital,” said Gary Fromer, senior vice president of demand response for Constellation Energy.

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