How Smart Design Changes Can Help Maximize a Hotel's Operating Efficiency
By Kyle Rogg President & COO, Value Place | March 16, 2014
Three years ago Value Place's executive management team decided to take a critical look at our building designs and see how we could make each hotel as efficient as possible. Terms like "green", "smart buildings", and "sustainable design" came to mind that guided parts of our quest. Like other hospitality brands, business owners, and corporate citizens, we value green certification and sustainability initiatives. But the recurring mantra that dominated our executive board room conversation "operating efficiency" – making a building that, as a whole, enhances operational performance and opportunity.
Our goal was to design a building, top to bottom, that would result in real savings to help provide our guests quality, comfortable rooms at competitive rates. We needed to honor our core values – being clean, safe, simple, and affordable but still raise the bar on return on investment. It was not easy but we did it. Smart design, as we call it, has proven to be the driver behind cost reduction, staff efficiency, and maximum return on investment for our franchisees and investors. The following are just some of the many examples of how focusing on decisions and execution in the early stages of design and construction, make a positive impact in the eventual bottom line later in the process.
- LED Lighting Saves on Energy and More
We have 600 ceiling lights in the average Value Place property. Our traditional design used compact fluorescent light fixtures. That meant staff members periodically had to climb ladders to remove glass coverings and clean out debris including insects. Certainly not a job any one likes to do and not something that is attractive to our guests. Perhaps as importantly, it is not a good or efficient use of our staff's time. Our change to LED (light-emitting diode) lighting made the difference. LEDs use 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, last five times as long as fluorescents, do not require special disposal due to hazardous chemicals (like neon, lead powder, mercury, etc.), and without glass coverings, there are no trapped insects to clean.
There were added benefits, we found, to LED conversion in the construction process. The slim height profile of the light, with about one inch of protrusion verses the six to eight inches of allowance required for fluorescent fixtures, makes the hallways feel taller, more spacious, and more inviting for guests.
LEDs represent a smart design choice that saves our franchisees during construction, operations, and incur on average just 20 percent of the electricity costs associated with traditional lighting. We install them in every new build and are even retrofitting some of our existing properties.