Case Study for Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

Case Study Graphic

September 06, 2012

The Aloha Surf Hotel in Waikiki is part of Hawaii’s first boutique hotel chain, Aqua Hotels & Resorts, offering a collection of 15 boutique and budget friendly hotels in Honolulu and 6 Hawaiian resorts on Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Lanai. As part of their commitment to Waikiki’s revitalization efforts, the management at Aqua Hotels has instituted a plan to minimize their impact on the environment. Part of their green initiatives included the installation of Green Key Switches, also referred to as “key cards”, in all 204 guestrooms at the Aqua Aloha Surf in Waikiki.

Magnum Energy Solutions provided the energy management solution, which utilizes a key card switch to automatically control both the HVAC and the lighting in the guest’s room. When the guest enters their room, they place their key card into the key card switch located inside the entry way, thereby activating the thermostat control unit, bringing it into “occupied” mode. When the guest leaves the room, they remove their key card from the key card switch and both the thermostat and the lights return to energy saving mode. Most rooms also have a battery free, wireless balcony door sensor. When the balcony door is opened, a signal is sent to the in room HVAC unit, which switches off, until the balcony door is closed.

The key card based energy management system has been in place since January 2012 and the savings are significant. With respect to lighting, the system has resulted in an average of 45 percent energy savings. The energy savings for the HVAC system, which is where the larger load exists, is about 50 percent. Based on the success at the Aloha Surf, the management at Aqua resorts is currently testing Magnum’s in room energy solution in 90 rooms at the Aqua Bamboo, also located in Honolulu.  Preliminary data at the Bamboo is showing energy savings of about 40 percent.

The core of Magnum’s in room solution utilizes an innovative EnOcean radio chip. Magnum’s technology is both wireless and battery-free, which meant a fast installation completed by the hotel’s staff. The team was able to complete about 15 rooms per day, which meant little to no disruption to daily hotel operations.

There are compelling reasons why this kind of energy management technology is important for energy conservation measures in Hawaii. During 2011, the significant increase in the cost of fossil fuel caused a corresponding increase in the cost of electricity, particularly for Hawaii, given its isolated geographic location. Hotel owners in Hawaii are now paying about 33.5 cents per kWh, the highest electricity prices in the nation. New York has the second highest average rate at 18.6 cents per kWh.

To encourage energy efficiency measures and help hotel owners afford the initial costs of energy management technology, like the solution implemented at the Aloha Surf, Hawaii Energy offers $100 per thermostat installed that allows for guest room thermostat control and which is paired with an occupancy sensor.  This rebate applies to hotels with central AC only. For hotels with split systems or window AC units, like the Aloha Surf, the project becomes a customized rebate, which requires pre and post data logging. The Aloha Surf, therefore, received a customized rebate of $75 per room installed with Magnum’s technology.