Energy Management A Priority At Historic Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel

HONOLULU? Although the Sheraton Moana Surfrider has the distinction of being the oldest hotel in Hawaii, it hasn?t stopped the historic property from being liberal in its energy efficiency practices. The 100-year-old hotel was honored with the Energy Efficiency Award in 1998, given by the Hawaiian Electric Company for its efforts, which include not only a lighting retrofit, but also the installation of a climate control system, new refrigeration motors, heat exchangers and pipes all within the last three years. As a result of these investments, the property has cut its gas and water bills in half and dramatically reduced its electric bill over the last several years. Electricity costs alone dropped almost $200,000, from $832,040 in 1997 to $688,905 in 1999. Gas costs were reduced from $94,358 in 1997 to $49,478 in 1999, while water costs went from $102,056 in 1997 to $63,563 in 1999, said Dante Aragon, chief engineer at the 793-room property in charge of the retrofits. ?We wanted to be as efficient as possible, so when we looked into these matters and found out how much we could save and the return on investment, we went for it,? said Aragon. With the property?s existing climate control system in the main building having problems, owners decided in 1997 to replace it with a new Inncom system to control that part of the resort? the original portion of the building built in 1900 that consists of 225 guestrooms. The cost of the system, purchased in 1997, was $256,000 and was slightly offset by a rebate offered by HECO of $22,600. The system included an entry door switch and an infrared sensor built into the room?s thermostat to detect a guest?s presence, that controls both air conditioning and lighting in the guestrooms. After 30 minutes without movement in a guestroom, the system automatically shuts off lights and lowers the temperature in the room to a preset level, which reduces energy consumption and cuts costs. More than $36,000 in savings per year were realized at the hotel via this method, said Aragon. He noted that owners were so pleased with the results that they have committed to retrofitting the rest of the resort this year. Another 430 guestrooms will be retrofitted with Smart Thermostats to control air conditioning setpoints and setbacks, however lighting will not be part of this system for structural reasons, he said. This investment is expected to total $218,000, before a $60,000 estimated HECO rebate. An additional $75,000 is anticipated in savings per year after the equipment is in place, said Aragon. Another area that was improved upon at the hotel that helps reduce energy consumption is water management. Water booster pumps that ran at a constant volume were replaced with VFD (variable frequency drives) pumps and motors that operate based on water demand. ?These are designed to respond to demand so the hotel is producing only the water it needs at a specific time,? said Aragon. This eliminates wasted water, measuring $7,400 in savings per year at the Sheraton. In addition, existing hot water pipes were replaced and rerouted for optimum heat recovery at the hotel. A plate and frame heat exchanger now recovers waste heat from the chiller condenser to pre-heat incoming water for the hot water system. Other energy management efforts that led to the Energy Efficiency Award in 1998 for the Sheraton Moana Surfrider include a lighting retrofit that replaced all incandescent lights in the guestrooms and corridors to compact fluorescent or electronic ballast with T-8 lamps. Energy saving window films were also used in specific areas of the building to reduce heat transfer.