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CASE STUDY: Hotels in Colombia Shave as Much as 20% Off Energy Bills

Energy platform enables dramatic energy savings by detecting when hotel rooms are unoccupied.
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Hotel properties inherently eat a significant amount of electricity. With 24-hour 365-day operations, they are one of the highest energy and water consumers per square foot, according to Better Buildings Hospitality, a DOE-sponsored initiative. Additionally, Better Buildings Hospitality reports that the average guest room pre-COVID incurred nearly $2,200 in energy costs annually. As a reference point, in 2019 the average monthly bill for residences in the U.S. was $1,380 a year! These figures aren’t likely to change; in fact, now that consumers have resumed travel, costs could climb.

With this knowledge in mind, two luxury hotels in Colombia, the Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros and Sonesta Valledupar, decided to implement the Horus Smart Energy Platform to help reduce their energy use. This technology comes from Z-Wave Alliance member MCA Systems S.A.S, a company that helps businesses curb their energy consumption by utilizing pre-configured turnkey smart systems to actively monitor and manage the environment.

Buckling Down to Banish Waste

During its preliminary assessment of each property’s energy use, MCA Systems discovered that 33% of consumption occurs when rooms are unoccupied. So, it designed the Horus system to alter the operation of each guest room’s electronic amenities based on the comings and goings of guests. Integrated into each of the 140 rooms at the Holiday Inn and 108 rooms at Sonesta Valledupar, the Horus controller communicates with motion and door sensors to monitor activity within each room. Based on this information, the controller adjusts lights, thermostats, TVs, and other electronic devices for maximum energy efficiency. The system requires no interaction of guests or service by hotel employees and unifies the operation of the most power-hungry devices under a single controller to simplify control, management, service and updates to the system.  

Each time the door of a guest room is opened, the system enables power to the room. Lights, AC and TVs operate normally. Once the door has been closed, the system monitors movement in the room for 15 minutes. If it detects movement, it leaves the power enabled for an indefinite period of time until the door opens again and the system restarts its work cycle. If no movement is detected during the 15 minutes, the system disables power until the next opening of the door.

Efficiency Drives Additional Operational and Environmental Benefits

Naturally, the less frequently a device is used, the longer its lifespan, not to mention fewer service calls and maintenance. These benefits streamline operations for the hotel workforce, bringing a significant boost to their bottom line and customer satisfaction. The energy cutbacks also validate each property’s commitment to a greener, more sustainable environment and compliance with environmental regulations. The energy saved over the past two years by the Holiday Inn and Sonesta Valledupar minimized their carbon footprint by 541 and 363 tons, respectively.

Cloud-Based Management Reduces Operating Costs

Another important component of each hotel’s Horus solution is the facilitation of remote management and service. Connected to the cloud, the Horus controller feeds real-time data to MCA Systems technicians’ mobile devices and central monitoring station. From one dashboard they have complete visibility of the status of every device in every room. Should a device fall offline, for example, the technicians are alerted immediately; often the problem can be resolved remotely even before guests are aware.

Deeper Insights into Guest Behavior Leads to Smarter Systems, Better Customer Service

The wealth of relevant information gathered and shared by the Horus Smart Energy Management platform enables hotel administrators to make management decisions based on real usage and consumption data. They can see when energy use is highest for example, which devices draw the most power, how long rooms are occupied/unoccupied, and which devices guests engage with most. Based on these reports, each hotel can modify and expand the system for even greater efficiency and customer satisfaction. The system provides a clear, well-defined roadmap for MCA Systems for appropriate technological refinements and updates, keeping the system as fresh and relevant as it was the day it was installed. 


Since its implementation two years ago, the Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros and Sonesta Valledupar have been able to cut their monthly energy bills by as much as 20 percent and have recorded a 15% and 20% decrease in electricity consumption, respectively. For the Holiday Inn, this equates to an overall savings of $32.388.790 COP; for Sonesta Valledupar, $220.710.824.

“The energy efficiency generated by our energy management platform is enough to cover the investment and generate surpluses,” says Tito Ardlia, Horus Smart Energy CEO & Founder.

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