Hotel guests love the convenience of energy-efficient in-room heating and cooling

Hotel guests love the convenience of energy-efficient in-room heating and cooling


Interior of hotel room

Image of Courtyard by Marriot guest room provided by Marriot

Throughout his 10 years working in the hospitality industry, Errol Thomas, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Hillsboro, has challenged himself to find new ways to conserve energy. The Courtyard has been renovated multiple times over the years, helping the hotel stay competitive as consumer trends change. Alongside aesthetic changes like fresh wallpaper and new curtains, the renovations focus on making operations more sustainable. “We try to make our hotels more efficient with every update,” Thomas said.

In 2021, Thomas and the manager of another Marriot property in Hillsboro, TownePlace Suites, identified an opportunity to save energy and improve guest comfort by replacing the old and unreliable in-room packaged terminal heat pumps (PTHPs) at their hotels with modern, energy-efficient models. PTHPs are heating and air conditioning units in each room that maintain a comfortable environment for guests.

The older, inefficient PTHPs had started to cause problems as they aged. Many of the units were malfunctioning and required frequent maintenance to stay operational. The units were also difficult to use for some guests. The imprecise knobs used to control the thermostat made it challenging for guests to select their desired room temperature.

After the managers at the two Hillsboro hotels decided to pursue new, energy-efficient PTHPs, they took the suggestion to higher management at BRE Hotels & Resorts, the company that owns the two Marriot-branded properties. Having worked with Energy Trust of Oregon in the past, BRE Hotels & Resorts staff learned incentives were available that could reduce the cost of the investment. The PTHP purchases were eligible for $6,000 in cash incentives, helping this project get off the ground quicker and at a larger scale.

“With Energy Trust, we were able to procure more units at once. The incentives made it a lot more economically feasible to do these upgrades because they can be pretty pricey.” – Errol Thomas, general manager, Courtyard by Marriot Hotel

Combined, 30 PTHPs were installed at the TownePlace Suites and Courtyard by Marriot properties. Thanks to the superior efficiency of the installed equipment, the two properties will save a combined $3,000 on utility bills annually.

To Thomas’ surprise, he received a lot of positive feedback from guests regarding the PTHPs. “I didn’t think that new PTHP units would make that much of a difference to a hotel room, but people absolutely love them,” he said. “The new units are super easy to use and work really, really well.”

Investing in energy efficiency just makes sense, according to Thomas. “It pays to be more energy efficient than not,” he said. “The financial savings potential is awesome and, personally, I just feel better knowing that my hotel is going in a better direction from an energy usage standpoint.”

Adding modern amenities that improve room comfort, like PTHPs, makes hotels more desirable to potential guests. Browse available incentives to learn how much you can save on energy-efficient equipment purchases and take a step towards raising the quality of your business.