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Marriott to Develop Demand Response Capability Across 250 Hotels

Hotel group Marriott International plans to develop more than 23 megawatts of demand response capability across more than 250 of its hotel properties in the mid-Atlantic, New England, New York, Texas and California.

Demand response is the ability to reduce electricity consumption during peak events that threaten to cause brown-outs or black-outs on the electricity grid. Rather than build additional power plants used only for these peak moments, utility companies pay large industrial and commercial energy users to reduce their consumption at critical moments.

Marriott has contracted Constellation Energy to design and implement the demand response systems. Constellation says the systems will improve energy efficiency and reduce electricity costs at Marriott properties, while ensuring guest comfort through expanded building automation capability and customized load curtailment strategies.

"Marriott International sees this program as a direct link to our global sustainability efforts," says Robert Bahl, vice president of engineering and facilities for Marriott International, Americas. "In addition to load response, the associated automation of this program will help to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of our hotels, saving an estimated 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually."

As part of the agreement, Marriott will use Constellation Energy's VirtuWattTM energy management system in concert with existing building automation to track electricity usage, bid directly into demand response markets and automate load curtailment strategies. The VirtuWatt platform will enable Marriott properties with other brands of automation to implement pre-set curtailment scenarios for building systems such as generation, pumping and HVAC, based on load shortages, electricity usage or real-time pricing.

In 2010, Constellation Energy and Marriott conducted a load response analysis and pilot at 17 Marriott properties, which identified technology requirements and laid the groundwork for this national scope load response program.

Facility operators will have a web-based interface for selecting specific curtailment scenarios on an as needed basis to match daily business demands. VirtuWatt also provides Marriott International with a centralized system for load control at multiple sites, an enterprise-view of electricity usage and data grouped by independent system operator or regional transmission organizations.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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