The Energy Concierge Program: NPEI’s Hotel/Motel Energy Efficiency Pilot Program

Hospitality is generally viewed as discretionary spending.  There are approximately 1,500 hotels and motels across Ontario and these facilities are vulnerable to water shortages, rely heavily on built assets and consume significant amounts of electricity and natural gas.  As a result, this sector is and will be affected by sustainability issues for the foreseeable future.  Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI) is well-positioned to offer a pilot program targeted at the hotel/motel sector.  Due to the strength of the tourism industry in the Niagara area, the 131 motel and hotel accounts within the NPEI service territory account for 13% of the provincial consumption in the hotel/motel subsector.

NPEI’s hotel/motel pilot program, which is being run in collaboration with Enbridge Gas Distribution and Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association (ORHMA) and under the project management of ICF International, will field-test a comprehensive natural gas and electricity-savings strategy.  With funding through the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO), LDC Program Innovation Stream, the pilot will officially launch on October 27, 2015. 

The pilot program has already attained its goal of recruiting and engaging a total of 5 facilities in NPEI’s territory to participate. This includes 2 large hotels (Fallsview Casino and Marriott Gateway), 1 medium-sized hotel (Peninsula Inn), and 2 motels (Advantage Inn and Arkona Motel).  These facilities were selected based on several factors, including their commitment towards implementing energy efficiency projects over the pilot program timeframe.

“We’d like to thank the IESO for recognizing the incredible potential behind our pilot concept and for the funding the delivery of the pilot,” states Brian Wilkie, President and CEO of NPEI. “We are pleased to announce that Fallsview Casino, the Marriott Gateway, Peninsula Inn, Advantage Inn and Arkona Motel have been selected as the five program participants. These facilities were selected based on several factors, including their commitment towards implementing energy efficiency projects over the pilot program timeframe.”

Hotels and motels represent a distinct market segment within the commercial sector, with needs relating to HVAC design and maintenance that are not specifically addressed by existing conservation and demand management (CDM) initiatives. Past programs have been unsuccessful at transforming the market in this sector for a number of reasons, not least of which are the difficulties associated with the engagement of decision-makers. 

Hotel management has been reluctant to invest in energy efficiency unless the benefits are clear-cut with a quick payback period. This is complicated by the often-complex ownership structures, where the owners and hotel managers are typically different people with different operational focuses. There is also a lack of energy efficiency measures that cater specifically to hotel/motel circumstances. The context of the often complex requirements for CDM program participation and access to incentives adds to the challenges facing hotels and motels. The hotel/motel pilot is designed to address these barriers.

The main focus of the pilot program will be to offer a customized solution for each participant based on their Hotel needs.   All participants will be provided with a personalized 3-year energy management plan that will identify priorities for efficiency opportunities, including low- and no-cost measures, such as tuning of existing building systems.  To facilitate this, full retrocommissioning studies will be offered to hotel participants at no cost, with the caveat that participants must commit to projects involving low-cost and/or no-cost bundled measures with a payback period of less than two years.  No such commitment is required for capital cost projects.

The pilot program will make primarily make use of existing provincial CDM delivered by NPEI as well as natural gas measures available to the sector.  However, the pilot program will also test some new measures that are specifically tailored to the hotel/motel sector.  This includes innovative upgrades to packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs), which are commonly used to heat and cool guest rooms in most small and medium hotels and some larger hotels.  To help support program participants and overcome any financial barriers, the pilot will offer additional incentives for some or all of these new measures. Energy savings resulting from these measures will be quantified with extensive measurement and verification (M&V) to facilitate movement to a prescriptive offering and/or program scope expansion for the provincial program.

In addition, hotels and motels will have access to technical assistance, including utility bill tracking, guidance on best practices and access to educational materials and tools.  Pilot participants are free to source their own equipment and services.  However, if they face any barriers to doing so or request assistance, the pilot program will provide support in this area.

Furthermore, since hotels and motels owners/operators often do not have the time or expertise to navigate energy efficiency incentive programs, the pilot program will provide full incentive application support services to facilitate the process, ensuring that customers walk away with a more positive experience.

“We hope to turn this pilot into a local program we can offer to all the hotels and motels we serve, and to contribute to making this a successful province-wide program that is offered across Ontario,” Brian Wilkie of NPEI noted.


For more information:

Sue Forcier

Chief Conservation Officer

Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc. (NPEI)

905-356-2681 ext. 6001