November 2013
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Control Solutions, Inc. - Minnesota

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 Self-powered Wireless Keycard

Part of a 50% Utility Rebate

EnOcean Alliance


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Salvatores Grand Hotel in Buffalo, NY, maintained its 5-Star guest experience while retrofitting their facility with an intelligent room automation solution that combines the benefits of several wireless standards. As a result, the hotel was rewarded with energy savings and a rebate from the local utility company in New York.  

Built in 2008, the Salvatores Grand Hotel provides its guests a unique mixture of fine dining and true hospitality in comfortable, well-appointed rooms. Last year, the hotel gained the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. It’s one of the owner’s highest goals to keep up the hotel’s standard with the times. This includes the reduction of energy consumption when sold and unsold guestrooms are left vacant.

Motion into energy

To achieve this objective without affecting the guests’ well-being, the hotel chose a solution based on self-powered wireless keycard switches from Verve Living Systems. These devices integrate EnOcean energy harvesting wireless technology that enables the switches to send a wireless signal just by the motion when putting the card into the switch. The mechanism behind it is based on an electro-mechanical energy converter that transforms motion into energy to power a wireless module. Working without cables and batteries, the key card switches are very easy to retrofit, actually within a few minutes, and work maintenance-free. Now, Heating & Air Conditioning Units (PTACs) and bedside lamps were setback and turned off respectively in response to the occupancy status of the room.

Connecting wireless standards

In addition, the Salvatores opted to network the in-room control systems together so that the guestrooms could be controlled remotely through the cloud and at the hotel front desk. The added functions and control were enabled by the ZENO InnPoint Gateway Platform. The software/hardware configuration is designed to remotely facilitate the control of room lighting, heating and cooling. The platform supports EnOcean wireless communications, while also supporting other existing communication protocols such as BACnet, Modbus, TCP/IP, ZigBee and multiple interfaces like Mitsubishi's CMCN (City Multi Controls Network). The solution can also integrate other wireless communication protocols in order to propagate wireless signals throughout a building.

Control Solutions, Inc InnPoint uses a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, based on Windows 7, that collects data points from anywhere in the building and displays them in a programmable graphic user interface. The solution can connect with the Performance Management System to automatically update the room status for housekeeping data and/or transmit temperature/environmental data to other building systems.

Energy saving through remote control

This technology delivers fast, simple commissioning and installation of energy saving technologies while extending the functionality of energy harvesting wireless devices by making it possible for a hotel's front desk to remotely control the guestroom equipment. For example at check-in, the hotel front desk can now touch a button on a computer screen to set a guestroom in "Welcome Mode" prior to the guest's entry. Based on occupancy, front desk staff can put a stop to energy waste by turning on or off room lighting and HVAC when guests are not in their rooms. This not only reduces energy costs, but it is respectful of the guest experience. In addition, because these controls are managed in the cloud, it is possible to monitor energy consumption online from anywhere in the world through any available personal computer or smart phone that is connected to the internet.

Payback period cut in half

In addition to the energy and maintenance savings inherent to the wireless controls, Salvatores Grand Hotel was also rewarded with a 50 percent rebate from the local utility company in New York. All in all, Salvatores was able to secure a rebate that cut the payback period of the system in half.

Figure 1 

Energy harvesting wireless controls networked with front-end software interface and other communication protocols.


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