Building a Cost-Effective and Energy-Efficient Hotel

As large facilities that typically hold many occupants at a time, hotels can consume a lot of energy. This translates into a big strain on a hotel’s utility equipment and finances. By incorporating more sustainable features into a property’s design, architects and hotel owners can successfully build hotels that are more cost- and energy-efficient.

Many hotels have already embraced this approach. Thanks to their sustainability initiatives, they’ve managed to achieve major savings in both energy consumption and utility costs. Two top hotel brands in particular have seen outstanding results from implementing their efficiency-focused plans. 

Marina Bay Sands 

The Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore is a shining example of energy-efficiency done right. As one of the city’s largest hotels with over 2,500 rooms, the facility’s immense capacity and activity raked up energy costs, exceeding $100 million in its opening year.

Thanks to a strategic $9.4 million investment in efficiency improvements, the resort has achieved energy savings as high as 11%. Those savings allowed the resort to see a full return on their investment in under two years.

Others in the hospitality sector can find valuable ideas in the property’s initiatives. For instance, integrating electronic management systems can help a hotel improve not only its energy efficiency, but also the efficiency of its general operations and customer service.

Marina Bay Sands did this by integrating its booking and building management systems, automating tasks like managing guest bookings, controlling HVAC programs, adjusting lighting, and implementing other sustainability initiatives. With the development of their Intelligent Building Management System, the resort was able to conserve 790,000 kWh per year. 

Using smart design gives hotels a chance to make the most of the natural resources around them, particularly natural daylight. The Marina Bay Sands facility features a wide-stretching glass facade that floods the interior space with organic illumination, lowering the need for electric lighting. The addition of photon sensors allows for the building’s artificial lighting to be increased or decreased according to the natural light conditions detected. 


Marriott has been an industry leader in terms of sustainability. The chain has long shown firm commitment to building energy efficient hotels, and it’s benefitted their bottom line.

A recent renovation of the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Maryland led to it achieving a LEED Platinum Certification, making it only one of four such hotels in the entire United States.

New installations included low-flow bathroom appliances, sustainable HVAC systems, and energy-efficient lighting. Additionally, as much as 90% of the project’s waste material was recycled, vastly lowering any negative environmental impact. These renovations and other initiatives enabled Marriott to save over $10 million in 2016. 

Hotels often struggle with tampering the cost of indoor climate control. Opting for energy-efficient installations is one way that Marriott has successfully lowered expenses. Many of the brand’s facilities use sustainable chillers to aid with internal temperature control, a cost- and energy-efficient alternative to air-based cooling methods.

Marriott further improved their chillers’ efficiency by adding monitoring equipment and using recycled water. These changes have led to the conservation of over 107 million gallons annually.

In one of Marriott’s properties in Mumbai, it cut electricity costs by as much $60,000 per year. Such an example shows that making supplemental adjustments can dramatically extend the energy-saving capacities of equipment that’s already geared toward sustainability.  

Improving Efficiency in the Industry

Those behind the hotel design and construction process can learn from how Marina Bay Sands and Marriott have tackled the issue of cost and energy savings. It takes a comprehensive approach that doesn’t fail to consider small details or even large-scale innovation. 

For example, the advent of the key card room access system presented a big opportunity for improving energy efficiency. By using the key cards to activate and deactivate a guest room’s electricity, hotels were able to start cutting their energy consumption by 20-30%.

Dramatic innovations like this allow the hospitality industry to progress toward higher levels of sustainability and cost-effectiveness in their facilities. Thinking about even the most basic elements of hotel design in a new light can help spark great ideas. We hope that the examples presented in this post help you find new ways to improve your own hotel’s efficiency.