LED Retrofits for Hotels Boost Bottom Line Through Operational Savings

By George Crawford

Hotels considering an LED retrofit would logically focus on the potential savings from reductions in their electric utility bills. These savings are substantial, to say the least, and generally cover the retrofit expenses within two years. But LED retrofits offer another compelling benefit often excluded in the cost-savings analysis: longer life spans and warranty periods for quality LED products.

Imagine a 200-room hotel that had zero lamp changes for a period of five years. The implications for the maintenance and purchasing departments would be huge—even before factoring in the lower energy costs.

Of course, those lower costs are a very significant factor.

Five-Year Savings Projections

To begin, consider the lighting in guest rooms. In an average 200-room hotel, expect 1,500 60-watt incandescent A19s. Common to every household, these bulbs have a useful life of 2,000 hours, or three months of constant use. On average, expect these 1,500 lamps to fail at least once a year, which means that maintenance staff has to change 1,500 lamps annually.

Compare this scenario to using LED A19 replacement lamps instead of the 60-watt bulbs. These LED equivalents only consume 9 watts (instead of 60 watts) and have a guaranteed life of five years (50,000 hours).

Let’s move on to the 400 incandescent 50-watt MR16 bulbs used for ceiling lighting in the hallways, conference and meeting rooms, and lobby areas. These 50-watt bulbs have a useful life of less than one year (5,000 hours). Since these lamps are located in ceilings, each replacement requires a ladder or a lift—at least 400 per year. The LED equivalent is a 9-watt bulb with a guaranteed life of more than five years (50,000 hours)—10 times longer than the incandescent lamp.

The five-year electric utility savings for just these two products is calculated as follows:

Rooms – 1,500 lamps

  • 60-watt A19 lamps – 5-year operating cost @ $0.24 = $946,080
  • 9-watt LED lamps – 5-year operating cost @ $0.24 = $157,680
  • Five-year electric savings: $788,400

Ceilings – 400 lamps

  • 50-watt MR16 lamps – 5-year operating cost @ $0.24 = $210,240
  • 9-watt LED lamps – 5-year operating cost @ $0.24 = $32,400
  • Five-year electric savings: $177,840

The estimated five-year savings for these two bulb categories would total $966,240—almost $200,000 a year. And this figure excludes the reduced workload on the maintenance staff, due to far fewer lamp changes.

These savings from efficiency increases drop straight to the bottom line, boosting profits—without increasing room rates for hotel guests.

Additional Considerations

Two other important considerations are Local Laws 88 and 134. Literally every hotel, and all buildings larger than 25,000 s.f., are required to upgrade to LED lighting by the end of 2024. Given the lead time involved for an LED retrofit, the smart move is to start the process now so it can be completed in a measured way—not as a last-minute rush job.

Also, Con Ed is currently offering funding for LED upgrades for hotels and other commercial facilities. In the case of our 200-room example, the current rebate would be approximately $26,000. To qualify your LED upgrade for a rebate, you need to work with a Con Ed Market Partner.

Final suggestions for a successful project:

  • Work with a quality vendor, and insist on installed samples of proposed LED products.
  • Only use quality LED products from name manufacturers, backed by warranties of five years or more.

Quality products and partners are the key to any successful retrofit.

George Crawford leads Green Partners LLC, which identifies money-saving solutions of owners of commercial and residential properties in New York City. For help with your energy needs, please contact George by email at gcrawford@greenpartnersny.com.