Hotel & Motel Preventive Maintenance Program; Energy Audits.

A property with 350 guest rooms can spend $300,000 per year on electricity, $50,000 on natural gas, and another $60,000 annually on water and sewer. Most properties have the potential to significantly reduce energy and water consumption without any impact on guest comfort. Simple management strategies like the ones presented here can reduce your utility bills by 30 percent or more while helping your facility become a better stewardof the environment. Every watt of electricity or gallon of water conserved saves money and conserves natural resources.

The checklists below identify cost-effective activities that also conserve resources. If your property is not already conducting these activities, plan to incorporate them into your operations in the near future. In facilities management, conserving resources and saving money often go hand-in-hand.


The following examples illustrate typical cost savings.

• Switching from an incandescent to a compact fluorescent lamp can save over $50 per year.

• Replacing older, water-wasting showerheads with low-flow models can save over $3,600 per year.

• Installing low-flush toilet devices in older toilets can save over $5,800 per year.



Lighting accounts for 30 - 40 percent of commercial electricity consumption.

Lighting energy demand can be reduced through a combination of common sense conservation measures and use of energy-efficient lamps and fixtures, such as those described below.

Fluorescent Lamps. Use energy-conserving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) instead of incandescent lamps for general lighting that stays lit more than four hours per day.

Lighted Exit Signs. Use low-wattage lamps in exit signs instead of the more common incandescent lamps. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the most energy efficient option, but CFLs are still an improvement over incandescent lamps. Although LEDs can cost over 50 percent more than low-wattage incandescent lamps, the payback period is less than one year and they last 10 times as long. The biggest savings come from annual energy costs: LEDs cost 85 percent less to operate than incandescent lamps.

Motion Sensors or Timers. Install motion sensors or timers in meeting/conference rooms, linen closets, pantries, freezer units/storage areas and as outdoor lights; such lights can be set to go off after five to seven minutes of inactivity. Some facilities have saved over 45 percent on annual energy costs using sensors in meetings rooms and storage areas.

Task Lighting. In common areas, direct lighting on areas that need greater illumination to avoid over-lighting whole areas.



A well-maintained property can save money, increase guest comfort, and even improve indoor air quality.

Include the following activities in your maintenance schedule:

Filters. Clean permanent filters every one or two months.

Leaks. Check HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system and other equipment yearly for coolant and air leaks, clogs and obstructions of air intake and vents.

Cooling and Heating. Don’t cool or heat more than necessary, especially in unoccupied areas.

Condensers. Clean air conditioner and refrigerator condensers at least every two years.

Sunlight. Cover west and south facing windows during the summer, and let sunlight in during the winter.

Fugitive Heat. Position heat-producing appliances (such as TVs and lamps) away from room thermostats. One watt of air conditioning is required to offset the heat of one watt of light.

Thus, energy-saving lamps reduce air conditioning costs watt-for-watt.



Low-Flow Faucets. Retrofit or replace shower heads with low-flow devices, and install faucet aerators onfaucets. Low-flow shower heads can save a hotel 10 gallons of water for every five minute shower. That means saving over $3,600 annually if 100 people shower each day, and water and sewer costs are 1¢ per gallon.   

Low-Flow Toilet Devices. Install water conservation devices, such as toilet dams or flapper balls, in older, water-guzzling toilets. These devices can save four gallons or more per flush, translating into annual savings of over $5,800 if 100 guests flush four times per day.

Full Loads. Operate clothes and dish washersonly with full loads, and promptly repair all leaks.

Wash Water. Wash clothes and linens in the coldest water that will do the job; hot water is usually only necessary for heavily soiled loads.

Lawns. Restrict lawn watering to mornings, evenings or nights to decrease water loss from evaporation and maximize effectiveness. Use sensors that turn off water systems when it is raining.  Better yet, use soaker hoses which “sweat” water from the hose and deliver it directly to plant roots.

Ground Cover. Plant ground cover that requires minimum maintenance and water.


Conservation of energy and water can offer savings to properties of all sizes. The following examples illustrate cost-effective measures taken by small and large properties to benefit the environment.


The Budget Host Inn in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., has 12 employees, 40 rooms, and has made a concerted effort to address environmental issues. Motivated by potential cost savings and a desire “to help the community to protect the environment,” Marion Peterson, manager, led the effort to manage her facility more efficiently. Starting in 1993, The Budget Host Inn began replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lamps in guestrooms and common areas of the inn. The hotel also installed motion sensors in some public areas and low-flush toilets , faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads.

 On a larger scale, a California Radisson hotel reported a 6.5 percent decrease in monthly bills from installing water-saving shower heads, turning the hot water down slightly, and installing fluorescent lights. The facility saved $3,500 per month with minimal initial costs: $15 per shower head and a slight increase in light bulb expenditures. Similarly, the Grand Westin Hotel in Seattle, Wash.   began saving $30,000 per month once it adopted an aggressive energy conservation program.




Dakota Contracting provides Energy Efficiency Assessments & Solutions for your multi-family and commercial properties. We help our clients make informed and intelligent decisions about implementing cost-effective energy efficiency measures.                                                                                                           

Our emphasis is on utilizing the existing systems that are in place and making them more energy efficient thus an immediate return on your investment. In most cases you don't have to spend a lot to save a lot. We evaluate five core areas. Heating & Air Conditioning, Lighting, Water Conservation, the Building Envelope and Equipment Evaluation (motors, office, appliances).                

Sometimes property owners, landlords, managers and home owners become complacent and continue to pay bills and collect rent and go with the status quo because it's easy. Then, one day there is an energy crisis . The time is now to make your property more energy efficient.

If time has taught us anything the cost of energy will only rise. For most Americans, we cannot control the cost of gas, oil, electricity, etc; but we can increase the efficiency of the very systems that require these fuels. In some cases all it takes is awareness and changing some habits.    

As an owner or manager of a hotel, it is extremely important that your clientel are comfotable and that you remain competitve. This can be attained by the level of service, cost of service, amenities and controlling your costs.                       

The service industry must be on the cutting edge of technology to attract high profile clientèle. Many hotels are going Green. It may be as simple as using recycled products for your construction projects, upgrading existing HVAC Systems and Lighting or utilizing renewable energy (solar, wind, geo-thermal, photovoltaic) for your electrical or mechanical needs.
We can be part of your inspection process (due diligence period) "before you buy" to give you a negotiating edge and possibly saving you money or making you aware of potential problems or waste. 

Periodic inspections prove very useful. When dealing with tenants most will not inform you when a toilet or faucet is running or dripping. However, you’ll get called when the toilet is clogged or they don’t have hot water.    

Replacing your old water heater with an energy star model, using indirect or on demand water heaters are also effective. Lowering the aqua-stat on the hot water heater to 120 degrees and insulating the HWH and piping  saves energy. Hot water re-circulating line saves water depending the length of run from the hot water source to the point of use.                                                                                                                   

Many people do not realize how water usage on several levels dramatically increases your operating costs. Wasting hot water increases your fuel bill, your water and sewer usage charge. Wasting cold water increases your water and sewer usage charge. Yes, your sewer usage charge is calculated by the amount of water used.
Typically, areas to watch for would be leaky faucets, malfunctioning ball cocks or flappers in toilets, water saver faucets, shower valves and toilets save thousands of dollars off your water, sewer and domestic hot water bills each year.  

At any rate water is becoming scarce so conservation and efficiency will put more money in your pocket and help preserve a precious resource.                                                     

Energy Efficiency” really Important?    

Is energy efficiency really important and necessary or is it a fad or political stunt to satisfy special interest groups and wacko environmentalists. Well let us examine the concept. Energy efficiency is using less energy to provide the same level of service. Pretty simple right! The United States is expecting a 30 percent growth in energy use over the next 25 years according to the figures published by the U.S. Commerce Department. The attractiveness of energy efficiency is that all things do not have to be completed at once in order to achieve results. And by the way, it’s not politically motivated, it is a personal choice. Yes, you will save money,  you will save energy and you will help the environment.

It is time to make our buildings and homes more energy efficient. Get an energy assessment by a professional and complete your energy upgrades one by one.
With that said the results cannot be denied. Whether you embrace the concept of “energy efficiency or “going green”, (conserve, reduce, reuse, recycle) will save you money, reduce our dependency on foreign fuels and help the environment. 

Energy efficiency is not an all-or-nothing proposition. The beauty is improvements can be staged over time. Consider the measures that make the most sense for your project. the amount of your budget, the return on investment (ROI), etc; You might seal air leaks and upgrade building insulation this year, but wait to replace your water heater until next year.

One can improve air quality and reduce health risks from mold, pollen, dust mites, radon and other pollutants by air sealing your home and ensuring adequate ventilation.

Installing programmable thermostats, an energy management system or just basic control upgrades will improve control over temperature, humidity and energy use. You will also prevent moisture problems and improve overall comfort.  

You can save money on water and energy bills without sacrificing comfort or convenience. New, efficient water heaters use less energy than older models. You can also choose from Indirect fired, direct fired or on demand type. Low-flow fixtures, aerators and shower heads deliver less water at comparable pressures. Cutting down on hot water also reduces the energy used to heat the water.

Increasing insulation, sealing air leaks and having proper ventilation will reduce ice dams on roofs and prevent pipes from freezing.

 These simple measures can avoid costly and complex structural problems in the future.

Energy efficiency saves money and can lighten the load on maintenance.  Efficient HVAC systems use less energy, increase comfort and decrease service calls. Fluorescent lamps (CFL's) last 6 to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy.  

Energy Services Offered:

          Heating & Air Conditioning equipment evaluation                                                      

         Water conservation and usage  

          Lighting evaluation  

          Building Envelope-Insulation, windows, doors, air infiltration   

          Electronic controls for heating & air conditioning systems, boiler controls 

          Preventive maintenance programs for mechanical equipment 

          Education - Employee Involvement/Coaching, workshops

We will arrange a site walk through to evaluate the heating & air conditioning systems, lighting, hot & cold water systems, building envelope and machines.  This can be as detailed as the client requires. 

We use mathematical calculations under the guidelines of the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (EnergyStar) which are used to calculate energy efficiencies. A comprehensive report detailing the cost savings and recommendations for various systems is outlined and reviewed with the client. 

Maintenance and Repairs: Are We Ever Caught Up?

Maintenance is something that never ends in a hotel and just when one thinks it is under control either something expensive breaks or it is time to remodel or upgrade!

 Maintenance seems to fall into four categories: 

1. Preventive room maintenance 2. Preventive equipment maintenance 3. Routine repairs based on work-orders 4. Emergencies. Each has its distinct time element, relative priority and level of interest from management and the maintenance staff.

Clearly everything stops for emergencies. A burst hot water pipe on an upper floor or a dead washer when occupancy is high will get everyone's attention. No one but a neighboring guest seems to care about squeaky hinges on guest room doors. How to keep all this balanced is a challenge to managers and owners alike. Maintenance Saves Effort 

The first thing that should be obvious is that routine repairs and, to a lesser degree, emergencies will be reduced significantly if preventive room and equipment maintenance is taking place. The problem for many managers and maintenance people is how to get out from under the ongoing repairs and emergencies in order to conceive and implement preventive maintenance programs.

The answer I always suggest is that they should look at preventive maintenance as a tax which is payable weekly in hours. No matter what, the tax must be paid. Guest room preventive maintenance is very straight forward. The place to start is not by being delayed coming up with the ideal checklist. 

Maintenance: Just Do It 

The key thing: get started. Go to the lowest numbered room in the hotel and start anywhere. Possibly start with repairing lamps and light fixtures then move on to tightening switches, adjusting harps, checking the security of the plugs and outlets. Next check for dripping in the bathroom and replace or clean faucet aerators, and tighten knobs. While in the bathroom, tighten the toilet seat and shower rod. Look for grouting that needs repair and make a note so that several rooms can have their grouting and tile worked on at once.

 The key to guest room preventive maintenance is in actually getting some things in the room fixed or adjusted, not in making big lists and certainly not in undertaking a big project.

If just six rooms are done a week all the rooms in an 80 room motel will be done in 14 weeks. The second time around will go faster and more things will get done.

Remember, work orders and project lists are a byproduct of this effort and these are being worked on continuously. 

Equipment and Public Spaces 

Along with the guest room preventive maintenance you also need to also schedule equipment and public space preventive maintenance. Equipment and public space preventive maintenance is a little different than the guest room program. Most pieces of equipment come with maintenance instructions.

Start with simple but important things, like keeping the machinery and equipment clean followed by servicing anything with moving parts. Get back to the machinery every two or three months or according to the manufacturers directions. Some equipment needs more frequent servicing. A good example are older circulating pumps for domestic hot water. Some used to need their bearings oiled weekly. Modern equipment needs less and less servicing, but anything with air circulating through it needs filters and coils cleaned just as much as they ever did. Failing to do so causes them to overheat and breakdown prematurely.

Public spaces such as lobbies, halls, stairwells, restaurants and meeting rooms need continuous attention. Chairs, tables, doors, carpet and wall coverings all get heavy use and abuse. Without regular attention these items can cause a hotel to start looking shabby and unkempt. More importantly, some items become a safety hazard. By getting around to these areas weekly and inspecting them the person or persons working on maintenance can correct unsightly tears, fix loose legs and keep all the parts of the doors properly adjusted. 

Work Orders and Organization

Work orders are a great tool for examining where preventive maintenance is failing by looking at the frequency, location or type of items that appear on the work orders. Except for damage caused by a guest or employee, many work orders are a result of poor preventive maintenance.

Emergencies Caused by Inattention

Emergencies have been defined by someone unknown to me as, "your poor planning becoming my crisis." A lack of preventive maintenance and attention to detail lie as the root cause of many emergencies. The definition of emergency in a hotel is subject to frequent changes of interpretation. The owner coming and the front door closer that s/he has complained about for three months still not being fixed is not really an emergency, but will be treated as such. Anything that is a safety hazard, or is causing further damage, or is going to impact revenue now is truly an emergency. You might think of some others, but this covers most emergencies.

After each emergency situation is resolved take a few minutes to examine it. Was it really an emergency? What could have been done to prevent or at least mitigate it? Finally, what are we going to do to keep it from happening again?

Lower Costs in Long Run 

In summary, I want to emphasize that whatever is spent on preventive maintenance is going to lower maintenance costs in the long run, enhance the guest experience (read that as increase repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising) and improve the hotel as an attractive and safe place to work.

In light of the current economic environment,how can I keep my property competitive?

It is important to maintain your largest asset: the guestroom. You will be able to maintain your property and improve your guest satisfaction by putting in place a preventive maintenance program. There are several steps for this process.

Look at what needs maintenance, what needs replacement and what needs cleaning.  Create a checklist for the entire guestroom (suite or standard room). It should include floors, furniture, fixtures, appliances, lighting and the bathroom. Consider the room from the guest’s perspective: sitting on the toilet, standing in the shower, laying on the bed, using the furniture. Act like a guest, and you’ll see what they see.

Starting out

Open the door. Does it close automatically, do hinges squeak or does the door or frame rub? 

Check electronic and secondary locks.

Is the peephole clean and clear?

Inside, “hug” the wall and take a 360-degree inspection of the room, working your way throughout the entire space.

The bathroom

Does the toilet flush properly, or does it keep running?

Inspect the vanity, tiles, grout, caulking and ceiling.

Enter the shower. Look at the grout and caulking and note necessary repairs or cleaning. Cracks or holes could lead to damages in the guestrooms below, moisture in the walls and potentially mold.

Inspect the showerhead, clean any calcium deposits and run the water to check the pressure.

Test the tub stopper and the tub for standing water. For slow drains, use the Zip-It drain-cleaning tool. Using the tool quarterly for tubs and sinks is recommended.

Check the shower rod and curtain. Is the rod loose or damaged? Does the curtain move correctly?

Test the faucet and fill the basin. Does the faucet drip? Does the sink drain properly?

Check caulking.

Ensure towel racks are tight and secure.

Check mirrors for cracks and chips; re-silver if applicable.

Light fixtures/bulbs, vents and fans should be clear of dust and other debris.

The bathroom door should open, close and lock as well as the front door.

Test the blow dryer and check the filter. Does the filter need replacing? Inspect the cord and plug for damage.

Check the nightlight.

Furniture and electronics

Inspect all furniture—desks, chairs, tables, etc.—for chips, scratches or damage.

Keep guestrooms in top shape

Preventive maintenance keeps guests returning.

Dresser and nightstand drawers should open and close correctly.

Check batteries in remote controls.

Inspect alarm clocks and check the cords on the TV and any other hardware.

Check mattresses and bed frame for condition.

Windows/sliding doors

Inspect for cracks and drafts.

Make sure drapes work correctly and that pull cords and batons operate properly.

If the room has a balcony/sliding door, the door should slide and lock properly.

Adjoining room doors should be inspected just like the front door.

Carefully check PTACs. Clean filters and replace when necessary. Clean the coils and condensation pan at least twice annually.


Replace guestroom lighting with compact fluorescent lighting. Change all the guestroom lighting at the same time and date the bottoms so you know when they were installed. Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs, which are designed to last 10 times longer, will extend the amount of time before you need to replace them, saving you maintenance and replacement lamp costs.

Check each lamp for cord and shade damage.

Don’t forget to check the switch plates and wall sockets.

The closet

Check the door and shelving.

Inspect irons and ironing boards, ensuring they are clean and work properly.

Preventive maintenance and deep cleaning programs should be done in two phases.

Maintenance first, with repairs and replacements completed, followed by a housekeeper’s deep cleaning. Housekeeping should wash the ceiling and walls, clean behind furniture and under beds, wash drapes and bedspreads and steam clean the carpet at a minimum.

These programs should be customized to your property. Consistency is always your best approach. Set your list to conform with guestrooms, then fine tune them, but don’t ever forget them. You’ll not only save future maintenance  dollars, but have much happier returning guests.

Use this checklist when performing room inspections

As the busy summer season begins to wind down, it’s a good time to take a look around your property and survey the wear and tear. As the hospitality industry begins to slowly recover, it’s time to look at your preventive maintenance schedule, your linen PAR levels, and dust off those plans to renovate your guestrooms and lobby areas. A good rule of thumb is to start inspecting 25 percent of your rooms each month and make the necessary repairs, thus each room would be properly maintained at least three times a year. If your maintenance inspections are in conjunction with a “deep cleaning” program, every room should be maintained in near perfect condition. Here is a basic checklist of items to inspect:

Air conditioners/heaters:
Check that switches/control valves are working properly
Check that the thermostat dial positions are working
Check the thermostat probe to make sure it is secure and working properly
Check that filters are clean and replace if needed
Check fan and motor; clean, lubricate and secure it in place
Clean evaporation and condenser units
Clean condensation pans and drains
Clean, maintain exterior grill
Check for leaks in the refrigeration system

Check lamp switches are working correctly
Check lamp socket and swivels are tight and in good repair
Check lampshades are clean with no holes
Check that all light bulbs are working properly
Check lamp base/body are in good repair
Check timer switches are working correctly
Check that heat lamps are working properly
Clean all fixtures
Check that all switch/outlet plates are good

Guestroom appliances:
Check televisions for clear audio and video
Check that the remote is clean and working properly—replace batteries if necessary
Check that the telephones are working
Check that windows/mirrors are good

 Follow proper maintenance schedules

PTACs and HVACs should be treated similarly to how a person treats a car. Every 3,000 miles you change the oil and perform proper engine maintenance to keep the car operating efficiently—the same care must go into air conditioning your hotel.

“If that coil is blocked for any reason, it doesn’t breathe at a 100-percent rate, then it will decline; and not only does it decline, [but] it uses much more energy than it should to cool a room,” said Howard Cohen, president of ChemTron.

The benefits of proper maintenance will assist your hotel through a chain of events: If your units are maintained, they won’t break down or require new parts as often, which will save money and labor. And the cleaner the units are, the more efficient they are, which saves money on utilities. The “3,000-mile” plateau for a PTAC is once a year, Cohen said.
Just looking at the unit for filth buildup doesn’t tell the whole story.

“There is so much fungus in these units, you can look and say it’s clean, but we have chemistry to show the contaminations,” Cohen said.

Before calling an expert for a yearly cleaning, there are some steps you can take. It’s best to check the filtration four times a year, said Eric Bowman, product manager for Rheem. That number should vary depending on how dirty the area is in general. Also, make sure the outdoor coil is free from debris.

All of these little checks add up to keep a hotel’s costs and temperatures down.

 Top Saving Ten Energy Tips.

1) Control direct sunlight through windows with blinds, shades or film. Utilize natural light in your workspace whenever possible.

2) Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)

3) Replace T12 fluorescent lamps with T8 or T5 type. Replace magnetic ballasts w/electronic type.

4) Seal air spaces around windows and doors. Check for leaks at ductwork.

5) Tune-up your HVAC units and boilers. Perform diagnostic test for efficiency.

6) Install programmable thermostats.

7) Purchase Energy Star equipment.

8) Add insulation around building core where appropriate. Insulate HWH & ductwork 

9) Turn off lights when not in use 

10) Replace washers at leaky faucets. Install low flow aerators and shower heads.