Guests of the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY, may not be aware that one of the most impressive amenities is working behind the scenes. The hotel is home to one of the largest geothermal heat-pump systems in the United States.

With a system of that capacity, the hotel required an energy management system that would integrate seamlessly with its existing and future technology investments.

Owned by the Al J. Schneider Company, Galt House Hotel comprises of two buildings: the RIVUE Tower, which opened in 1973, and the SUITE Tower, opened in 1985.

With 1,290 guestrooms, including 650 suites, the bustling convention hotel sought an energy management system with a network infrastructure and in-room technology that could be installed with minimal room downtime.

Clear energy objectives

“Before selecting an energy management system, we had a checklist of requirements,” said Slater Coe, director of operations at Galt House Hotel.

He wanted to maximize the hotel’s energy efficiency, improve proactive maintenance capability, and offer guests a hotel stay uninterrupted by temperature or HVAC issues. Galt House Hotel had an interest in maximizing profitability through reducing utility costs and improving operational efficiency, so Coe thoroughly evaluated several energy management solutions.

“We sought to install energy management technology that would adapt as the hotel’s needs, and our customer’s needs evolve,” said Coe.

Telkonet Inc.’s EcoSmart™ energy management emerged as the best fit.

“It’s not uncommon for the energy infrastructure of a hotel to see little, if any, reconfiguring or modification over 20 or 30 years,” said Gerrit Reinders, Telkonet’s executive vice president. “With that in mind, Galt House Hotel expected our EcoSmart energy management system to significantly improve the performance of guestroom HVAC systems.”

With an eye on the future, Galt House Hotel installed Telkonet’s EcoInsight thermostats and EcoView occupancy sensors in all 1,290 guest rooms during June 2013. To enable remote monitoring and control of in-room HVAC systems through Telkonet’s cloud-based EcoCentral Virtual Engineer™ command center, the thermostats connect wirelessly to a property-wide network infrastructure. Room-by-room data collected by the intelligent EcoInsight thermostats enables EcoCentral Virtual Engineer to identify HVAC units that may be malfunctioning. This allows engineering resources to be deployed selectively and proactively while ensuring continuity of comfort.

The product also displays unit-by-unit/aggregated energy savings reports and tracks progress toward a defined savings goal. Performance metrics reports also validate EcoSmart system savings, track unusual occupancy statistics, and catalog equipment that may have declined in efficiency.

Maximizing efficiency

At Galt House Hotel, EcoSmart was seamlessly integrated with Infor HMS, a property management system, and HotSOS, a workorder tracking solution. Using data from Infor HMS to identify rooms as sold or unsold, EcoSmart controls unsold rooms with more aggressive energy conservation measures to produce additional savings without affecting guest comfort. The connection to HotSOS enables Galt House Hotel to automatically add proactive maintenance recommendations from EcoCentral Virtual Engineer to the existing maintenance workflow, which helps prevent guests from ever experiencing an HVAC issue.

“EcoSmart functions well within our day-to-day operations to assist us in improving operational efficiency, and ultimately, improving the guest experience,” Coe said.

Once the property selected EcoSmart, Telkonet completed the initial installation in a matter of weeks, just in time for Galt House Hotel, the Official Hotel of the Kentucky Derby, to welcome guests during the festivities.

After the EcoSmart installation, annual guestroom electricity costs at Galt House Hotel dropped 39%, from $261,733 to $160,467.