Have Hotels Given Up On This Green Technology?

by joeheg

It’s simple math that the less money a hotel spends, the more profit it makes. For hotel owners, there’s no better cost-cutting measure than one that can be heralded as a green technology that helps lower power usage and is good for the earth.

One example is the company that sells motion sensor thermostats claiming they make the room more comfortable, but add in that “occupancy sensing systems will increase profits by reducing room HVAC energy consumption by 35 to 45 percent.”

One of the first ways hotels saved power, decades ago, was by putting a key slot by the door. The hotel would tell you that you had to put your room key in the slot to turn on the power (lights, outlets, TV, and HVAC). It didn’t take people very long to realize any card would activate the switch and it was listed as one of the best travel tips the pros use.

Carry a spare card (old bank card, library card etc) for the electric switch slot thing in hotel room, can keep AC running when you’re not in the room, charge devices etc and keep the room key in your wallet/pocket – tommyredbeard

Most experienced travelers know how to “cheat” the system by using an expired AAA card and hotels have gotten the hint. In fact, on our recent trip to Southeast Asia, it looked like the hotels had given up and provided the key to put in the slot.

Forgive the grainy pictures since I didn’t realize this was a trend until the end of the trip.

When we entered the room, the Hyatt Regency Danang already had a card in the slot.

So did our hotel in Hanoi.

a white door with a black handle

Finally (you can tell we now saw it was a “thing”), so did our hotel at Changi Airport in Singapore, on our last night before traveling back to the U.S.

a card in a device

Several things to mention. While we were visiting in February, it was hot and humid outside. In addition, we stayed in nicer hotels.

The last thing someone paying top dollar for a hotel wants is to return to a hot, sticky room and wait for the AC to cool things off. The combination of guest complaints and the realization that many guests figured out how to outsmart the system probably made the decision to leave the room power on all the time easy.

Final Thoughts

I’m not against ways to save energy. In fact, have a programmable thermostat at home that manages the temperature throughout the day. However, only the most ambitious green crusader believes cutting all the power from a room when you’re not there is a good idea. They’re only slightly above the ones who turn off the AC when there’s no movement in the room, like when people ARE SLEEPING!!!!

I have no shame in admitting that I always overrode these key switches with whatever card I had in my wallet instead of returning to a boiling hot room in the afternoon when I wanted nothing more than to cool off and nap.

I guess it’s time that hotels realized these key switches aren’t doing anything except upsetting guests.

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1 comment

Tom March 18, 2023 - 4:17 am

I agree with your sentiment, but what I don’t understand is that most of the warm climate hotels I stay in preset their room temperatures in the mid 60s. It has to be bad for their bottom lines, it’s bad for the environment, and I find it uncomfortably freezing.


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