Energy efficient moisture management strategies for the hotel
by Scott Lenger
Despite double-digit profit growth since 2004, hotel
owners and operators know that competition remains high and they must
continue to find ways to increase profitability without taking away from
guest comfort and satisfaction.
Indoor Air Quality and Its Impact on Guest
Comfort and Hotel Profitability
According to JD Power and Associates, the most important hotel guest
satisfaction factor is room comfort. Indoor air quality (IAQ), including
humidity, temperature, drafts, odors, moisture and even noise, has a
significant impact on room comfort. IAQ can influence a guest’s
decision to return to a particular hotel – or even an entire
chain, having an immediate and profound impact on hotel
IAQ, also has a structural and physical impact on
hotel profitability and operation. Excessive moisture and humidity can
cause damaging contaminant growth, which may destroy internal structures
and significantly increase long-term maintenance and repair costs.
Peeling paint, sagging wallboards and damaged wallpaper cost hotel
managers thousands of dollars per year – and impact guest
Achieving and maintaining the correct IAQ requires
effective moisture, pressure and ventilation control strategies.
Hotel maintenance managers are advised to work with a
heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) expert to find
solutions that balance guest and employee comfort, maintain the building
structure and meet other hotel operating goals such as saving energy and
reducing building lifecycle costs. Even limited-service hotels with
packaged HVAC systems can achieve a greater degree of comfort and energy
savings by implementing a moisture management plan.
Effective Moisture Control Saves
Humidity and moisture management strategies can also save hoteliers
money through lower energy consumption, resulting in lower operating
Working with an HVAC consultant, hoteliers are
advised to conduct a facility audit to assess ventilation, heating,
cooling and moisture related building properties. HVAC industry research
from the American Society of Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning
Engineers (ASHRAE) has found that humidity problems are more prevalent
in buildings where HVAC systems are sized and installed by non-technical
personnel. Audits often find over-sized air conditioning systems, which
cool the space before meeting humidity needs. This contributes to
moisture build-up and wasted energy.
Finally, preventive maintenance and service
arrangements help ensure that building systems operate as efficiently as
they were designed. Regularly scheduled service renews and extends the
life of equipment by replacing worn components, renewing compressors and
offering the latest product improvements for the rest of the unit. By
participating in preventive maintenance programs, like Trane’s
R’newal, customers can schedule their maintenance and extend the
life of their equipment by servicing their equipment before problems
Tips for hotel owners and
1. Audit the property to establish a baseline
and detect any moisture problems.
2. Evaluate the hotel’s moisture barrier
and, if necessary, install moisture barriers to prevent infiltration of
3. Select an effective HVAC system with advanced
controls that can dehumidify the space to less than 60 percent relative
humidity while managing energy consumption.
4. Install the right sized air
conditioner. Oversized air conditioners, especially those without
humidity controls, can contribute to moisture management problems
because the space will reach the desired temperature before sufficiently
lowering the humidity.
5. Use specialty exhaust and ventilation systems
in hotel kitchens to remove excess humidity, bring in fresh, filtered
air and reduce odors.
6. Manage moisture in hotel pool areas with
proper ventilation, tight humidity control and effective sealing off of
the pool area from other parts of the hotel.
7. Housekeeping staff should monitor air
conditioner use in unoccupied rooms, keep windows closed in guest rooms
during periods of high humidity and notify management at the first sign
of moisture damage.
8. Maintenance personnel should regularly check
and clean air conditioning filters and coils.
9. Schedule preventive maintenance programs to
extend equipment life while assuring guest comfort and lowering
Scott Lenger is the director of
Lodging and Entertainment markets for Trane and has been involved in
commercial property and construction markets for Trane and American
Standard for 20 years. He is a member of the American Hotel and Lodging
Association (AH&LA), Asian American Hotel Owners Association and
founding member of AH&LA’s Good Earthkeeping Alliance. For
more information about Trane’s R'newal program, contact Larry Wash
of Trane Commercial Systems at firstname.lastname@example.org