Leviton Helps Hotels Flip Switch on Energy Savings

MELVILLE, NY—Reducing energy usage within the guestroom has become a critical component of operations and a key to profitability for any hotelier but, for those in California, it’s actually become the law. Title 24—which went into effect in January and is part of California’s statewide utility codes and standards program—requires the installation of occupancy controls for HVAC equipment and lighting fixtures in hotel/motel guestrooms.

While this may be good news for the environment, it’s also good news for providers of energy saving solutions. One such company, Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc., a privately held manufacturer of electrical wiring equipment based here, has seen a considerable spike in demand over the last 12 months for its Hospitality Keycard Switch, according to Brian Carberry, director of product management for Leviton’s Lighting & Energy Solutions business division.

“California, with its new codes, is really the first [U.S.] market to start utilizing key cards a lot more,” he said, noting, in contrast, “There’s been more use internationally for these than there traditionally has been domestically.”

The Hospitality Keycard Switch is designed to help hotel managers meet code requirements while saving them time, energy and costs, according to the company.

As part of the California code’s requirement, hotel guestroom lights must be turned off within 30 minutes of the room being vacated.

The Keycard Switch meets the aforementioned requirements in several ways, one of which is controlling circuits by either inserting or removing a guest’s access card from the device. The switch ensures circuits are on only during occupancy when the guest’s access card is in the keycard switch, and functions as a vacancy sensor when a guest leaves the room and removes their card from the device, which initiates a 30- or 60-second time delay after which any connected circuits will be turned off.

In addition, the device also has LED lighting illuminating the keycard slot enabling guests to find the device in a dark room. Carberry touted some of the advantages of the Leviton’s Hospitality Keycard Switch, which was first introduced in 2008 and costs hoteliers roughly $30 per guestroom.

“The major difference between ours and our competitors is we got a full 20-amp commercial rating on it from UL. The product itself won’t pop if it’s overloaded; the circuit will. The circuit protects it and the product will handle any load that’s put on it,” he said, citing as an example what could happen if there was an iron, microwave and vacuum all on the same circuit.

However, Carberry stressed that the Keycard Switch is only one solution to meeting standards. As such, he noted the company has coupled the product with two of its systems, one of which is the Lumina System, which utilizes smart thermostats. The Keycard Switch is also specifically designed for retrofit applications with LevNet RF wireless self-powered solutions. The device can be integrated seamlessly into existing decor with its low-profile design and color change kits, according to the company.

“It’s not just one product that gets the hotel room up to speed. You want to have an occupancy sensor in the bathrooms with a nightlight. You also want to have relay devices within the space to be able to control things properly. This [Keycard Switch] shuts the room down to make sure everything is completely energy efficient when no one is there and the place is vacant,” he said.

In discussing the product’s wider distribution overseas, Carberry highlighted the Middle East, specifically citing Saudi Arabia and Dubai, as well as South Africa. He also noted the company has also developed an app specifically for Title 24 and employs a service specialist who can educate hoteliers and direct them to Leviton’s product offerings.

Dennis Nessler