People who don’t live in hot environments rarely encounter air conditioning (A/C) units, and when they travel to different locations for hotel stays, the extent of their knowledge usually just covers the fact that the “up” and “down” buttons are important. In reality, very few people have a full understanding of how A/C units work.

Even so, it’s becoming more apparent that artificial intelligence (AI) can greatly improve the use of air conditioning. SensorFlow specialises in the automation of AC systems within the hospitality space. Using the Internet of Things (IoT) – a system of interconnected devices that exchange data – we’ve identified how hotel guests are using AC all wrong and how this can be corrected.

Hotel Guests Want to be Environmentally Friendly

In 2016, a study was conducted by energy company, E.ON which focused on hotel guests and their thoughts about sustainability. Although one-third admitted to using more energy than they typically would at home, half also stated that a hotel’s energy usage and sustainability was important to them. This is certainly a fortunate trend, but the real data seems to contradict these findings.

“Although one-third (of hotel guests) admitted to using more energy than they typically would at home, half also stated that a hotel’s … sustainability was important to them.”

Our own studies have found that guests aren’t even in their rooms 50% of the time after check-in. They’re out visiting theme parks, having a glass of Amarone by the water’s edge or similarly enjoying their holiday elsewhere. Unfortunately, we also found that less than 10 percent of hotel guests turn off the A/C when leaving their rooms.

This leaves us with two possible scenarios.

  1. This could be seen as evidence of a societal pressure to shift towards being more environmentally-friendly that doesn’t carry over to the individual level. In essence, people want to say they’re concerned but it really just comes down to what’s easiest for them.
  2. Optimistically, we want to think that people are just excited about being on holiday and simply forget to turn off the air conditioning. As is the case with other forms of artificial intelligence – ranging from wireless locking doors to automatic light dimmers – people just need a little assistance in doing the right thing.

Regardless of the true reason behind this disconnect, our data still shows us that hotel guests haven’t quite figured out how air conditioning in their rooms works.

Hotel Guests Need Artificial Intelligence

When hotel guests walk into a room, they often turn the air conditioning down much lower than they actually need it. They very likely understand that they won’t be comfortable in a 16°C room, but they believe that their preferred temperature will be reached quicker if they turn the temperature lower. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t the case.

By using data collected from over 100 A/C units via SensorFlow’s devices, we discovered that 80% of hotel units cannot cool the temperature below 19°C, while 60% percent can’t​ cool below 20°C. The A/C system will still allow them to try, though. In fact, it may have been designed to achieve this when initially installed, but due to maintenance being required or system changes since installation, this is no longer possible.

Take a look at what our SensorFlow found in one room. The chart below shows that, even with the temperature set to 19°C, the ambient temperature in the room never drops below 21.5°C. This means the A/C unit continues running at full power – in an effort to reach the desired temperature – even though it’s never going to get that cold in the room.

Standard Room Trends from in November 2018

Guests Recognise the Discomfort

Of course, the data we’ve provided so far might just show that hotel guests like it really​ cold in their rooms. Everything else we discovered, though, seems to point to a different conclusion. We conducted data analysis on a sample of 1000 guest rooms and found that the average guest’s preferred temperature ranges from 22°C to 24°C.

“(Based on) a sample of 1000 guest rooms …(we) found that the average guest’s preferred temperature ranges from 22°C to 24°C.”

We know this because our artificial intelligence technology shows that guests quickly turn up the temperature once a certain level is reached. If they turn the system to 19°C, they eventually end up raising the temperature because it’s uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help much if they fall asleep or leave the room for the day.

As mentioned earlier, this leaves an A/C unit striving to reach 19°C – far too cold for the average hotel guest – even though it will likely never drop below 21°C. In a best-case scenario, the guest gets cold and turns the temperature to a more realistic level. At worst, the A/C runs in an inefficient manner and never automatically shuts off.

SensorFlow’s AI is Changing Things

SensorFlow has quickly become a thought leader in the area of environmentally-friendly hotels and artificial intelligence. Our system has been shown to drop energy costs by up to 30%. In addition to cost savings, our IoT automation solution saves about 31 trees per month for a 100-room hotel. This means hoteliers will simultaneously help save their wallets and the environment.

“Our system has been shown to drop energy costs by up to 30%… (and) saves about 12 trees per month for a 100-room hotel.”

This is achieved through a variety of methods. Perhaps the most important being the constant monitoring and live recording of all data related to the A/C in a guest room. This includes the room’s actual temperature; what setting is being used and even guest interactions with the remote and wall controls. In essence, you’re able to keep track of exactly what makes your guests comfortable.

Additionally, our technology allows you to adjust room temperatures remotely in response to guest requests. You can even monitor a room’s occupancy levels – helping to better plan happy hour and housekeeping services – and get reliable alerts regarding predictive maintenance. These innovations make SensorFlow essential for the smart buildings of the future.

There’s More to Come

Our studies provide a wealth of data that we’re still examining on a daily basis. This means we will have plenty of additional insights for creating environmentally-friendly hotels in the upcoming months. If you’d like to be the first to know about this new information and how guests are interacting with your HVAC system, sign up to ​receive our newsletter​ today.

You can also use ​this form to contact us if you’re interested in how SensorFlow can help lower your energy costs while helping you create a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable hotel. Additionally, reach out to us at: [email protected]