There’s good news for the eco-conscious traveler. As going green becomes a lifestyle for a growing number of consumers, hotel chains are taking action to become more sustainable. Newly constructed hotels are seeking LEED certifications, almost every chain gives you the option to limit your washing and many serve only locally sourced food. This trend is only expected to evolve as new technologies offer creative solutions to today’s pollution problem, so here are some of the latest and greatest energy innovations you may see in your next hotel room.
1. Smart windows
You’ve probably already heard of smart cars or smart appliances, but did you know about smart windows? These handy devices automatically change their tint to save the most energy. On a hot summer day, the windows tint to their darkest shade to ward off unnecessary heat, saving up to 70 percent more energy than double-pane windows. In the winter, the units transform to a lighter tint to take advantage of natural light and heat. Although the process requires electricity, powering 100 of these smart pieces of glass uses less energy than a 75-watt light bulb, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
2. Kinetic carpet
Hotel room floors are typically covered in carpet and now a new technology may make it possible for those carpet fibers to harness energy. Scientists at the University of Bolton’s Institute for Materials Research and Innovation have created a type of fiber, photovoltaic-piezoelectric fiber, which can be woven into carpet. When that carpet is walked on, the fibers collect the kinetic energy to convert it into usable electricity.
3. Energy management systems
What is the one thing most hotel rooms have in common? A key card. Hotels all over the globe are now transforming the technology into an energy management system. In 2011, Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park renovated its guest rooms with a new key card system, which will manage lights and air conditioning as guests leave and enter. The company said the system could reduce carbon emissions by 1.4 million pounds per year and save enough energy to power 45 homes.
4. Programmable thermostats
These energy-saving devices are all the rage with homeowners, but hotels can take advantage of this techy trend too. Programmable thermostats allow you to control the temperature and manage energy consumption when you stay in a hotel. Through this device, you can program the heating and cooling to your schedule, so there’s never any wasted power. Some smarter models even allow you to control the temperature through an app, so you can exercise energy savings in your room or on the go.
5. Energy-efficient lighting
While it may seem like a hotel is grasping for low-hanging fruit by changing out its lighting, it can actually provide a huge savings. Sure, installing new LED or CFL light bulbs is an easy step toward sustainability, but it’s also effective. Take Marriott International for example. When the worldwide hotel chain switched out its light bulbs for highly efficient models it saved more than $6 million and saw a 70,000 ton reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions.
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