From the laundry facility and guestrooms to parking lots and rooftops, Meyer Jabara Hotels is committed to keeping its properties performing at peak efficiency. The U.S. East Coast hotel management company is committed to making each of its 22 hotels representing 4,000 guestrooms across 10 states energy efficient and operating green.
“In today’s world, we need to manage down to the penny, and utilities are a major cost to the operation of the hotel,” said Justin Jabara, MJH VP of Development and Acquisition. “The better we can manage the consumption of energy, gas and water, the more money we can bring to the bottom line.”
In July 2015, the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Danbury, Conn., owned by real estate investment company Diamond Properties and managed by MJH, installed 400 solar panels on the rooftops of two of its five buildings to generate 132,000 watts of solar electricity. Today, the 113-room hotel is significantly reducing its carbon footprint by receiving 18 percent of its annual energy from the sun, and it’s saving approximately $1,500 a month in energy costs and earning $16,000 annually in renewable energy credits. Connecticut – which has the United State’s second-highest electricity prices – offers a Low/Zero Renewable Energy Credit program (LREC/ZREC) that pays properties for every kilowatt of solar electricity produced. The average retail price for electricity in Connecticut was 23 cents per kWh in 2015, compared to a national average about 13 cents/kWh.
“The LaQuinta Inn and Suites Danbury is embracing sustainability in a holistic way, and rooftop solar panels are just one of our many green initiatives,” said General Manager Stacey Pacific. “We were one of the first hotels in Danbury to install a charge-point station for powering electric vehicles. Our parking lots, public areas, guestrooms, bathrooms, hallways, kitchen and offices are equipped with low-wattage LED lighting from Xeleum Lighting LLC, and guestrooms feature digital thermostats from INNCOM by Honeywell. We have programs in place to conserve water as well. We’ve insulated our boiler pipes, installed water flow reducers in bathrooms, and guests are happily participating in our towel reuse program.”
Holding hotels accountable
Working in conjunction with the Burton Energy Group (BEG), Meyer Jabara Hotels conducts monthly energy audits to benchmark the environmental performance of its properties and take their energy programs to the next level.
“The energy consumption scorecard created by BEG enables us to track trends among our hotels,” Jabara said. “If we spot issues in water, electricity or gas consumption, we can quickly customize our programs at the property level to correct the inefficiencies. These routine audits hold managers accountable at the property level to meet their ‘green goals’ for the month, and overall, it makes us a much more effective management company.”
Many of the Meyer Jabara Hotels’ properties use ozone washing machines that require little to no hot water during the wash cycle. At the present time, the company is beta-testing a new technology at its Courtyard by Marriott New York LaGuardia Airport that washes linens with beads that use less detergent. Laundry dryers nearing the end of their life cycles also are being replaced with new models that are more energy efficient. Nearly all properties have installed digital thermostats with occupancy sensors and temperature set-backs in guestrooms. Occupancy sensors are also used in ballrooms and meeting facilities, and they are proving to be effective for reducing energy in housekeeping closets.
“Collectively these programs are helping our hotels to be truly green, and they are enabling owners to see more green as well,” Jabara said. “The world is changing, and as hoteliers, we need to do the right thing and focus our efforts on energy conservation. No area of the hotel can be overlooked. Energy savings adds up over time, as Jim Diamond can attest at his LaQuinta Inn and Suites Danbury. It’s rewarding to be working for such an environmentally-minded company like Diamond Properties that is committed to sustainable business practices.”
According to Diamond, the LaQuinta Inn and Suites Danbury is driving approximately $75,000 each year to the bottom line through MJH’s green initiatives in addition to the solar program.
“Diamond Properties is dramatically reducing energy consumption across the board and increasing the percentage of energy coming from renewable sources,” Diamond said. “Our goal in Danbury is to make the LaQuinta Inn and Suites the most green, sustainable and renewable hotel in the region. Together with Meyer Jabara Hotels and our energy partners, this goal is quickly becoming a reality.”