Constellation Video Library
Marriott International Load Response
Douglas Rath, energy director for Marriott International, Americas talks about Marriott's sustainability initiatives, load response program and using Constellation Energy's VirtuWatt
load response , interview , customers , business customer
My name is Douglas Rath and I’m one of three energy directors for Marriot.
Marriot’s divided into continents so I support the America’s continent which is Canada, North Central, South America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii.
And my role is one of the three directors is on the demand side, so I really focus on energy conservation, reduction of energy use, automation, demand response, those types of programs, behavioral change, those type of things; we’re really focused on reducing the energy we use in our environmental footprint.
[A Guest on the Planet]
The concept of being a guest on the planet is, is central to what Mr. Marriot and to what our corporation is trying to do. By being a guest he wants us to treat the planet with respect, to reduce our footprint. Do the job you have to do, be competitive, be a leader in hospitability. But take every possible effort; make every possible effort to reduce the foot print of doing so.
A lot of guests at this point expect that you as a corporation as a corporate steward in the planet, are doing the right things and are focused on that and should be, it’s part of your job. So I think that the average guest that checks into the Marriot hotel probably is not aware of all the things that we do, from recycled business cards to recycled pens and paper to water reclamation to the supply chain greening to biodegradable to- go products in our restaurants and so on and so forth. I think the win if we’re really successful in what we do in the lodging industry, you stay a leader by making this environmental stewardship and making energy efficiency and this, this uh carbon reduction making it painless and making it invisible to the guest.
[How Does Load Response Fit in the Picture?]
And this project plays again very well with our sustainability goals and what we’re trying to achieve but is absolutely invisible to the guest. Success in this program is finding load to shed, doing it automatically without impacting the guest, again it has to be invisible. So while the guest is probably not aware of this project it means a lot to us as Marriot because it really finally meshes with our sustainable goals and what we’re trying to achieve.
[What is VirtuWatt?]
Further detail on the automation side we actually have a couple of different solutions. One of these is VirtuWatt. VirtuWatt is a project or a product of Constellation Energy. And VirtuWatt steps in and helps us with talking to automation systems that we already have. We have a lot of hotels, I think there’s 250 full service hotels in the Americas, the area that I support. There’s over 800 hotels of all brands in the Americas. Of the 250 hotels, let’s say roughly 20% of those, or 50 hotels have existing automation systems of various brands. VirtuWatt is a very very unique and a very slick interface that allows us to basically hang a box on the wall that can talk to these systems and can pick points and curtailment strategies and specific equipment that we want to control, it gives us the ability for the first time to be able to actually send a control out through a central server, talk to anybody’s automation and actually initiate programming.
[How Does Marriott’s Load Response Program Work?]
The average event, there’s a two hour warning window. So they’ll get, they’ll get a notification two hours in advance of the event. The property leader then logs into a website, looks at the list of things that he’s identified, his curtailment strategy we call it. And based on his business and his knowledge of what’s happening in his hotel today, he has the ability to allow maybe all of his six curtailment strategies to run or to pick half of them or two of them or one of them and set up what’s going to happen two hours from now to run automatically. This is kind of what we would call “keeping the humans in the loop” and has really improved the confidence and support for putting this automation in.
[Meeting the Need for Automation]
Let’s talk a little bit more about the business case behind, why did we move with Constellation on VirtuWatt in the first place. Again, if you look at Marriott we have very very aggressive sustainability goals and in the engineering discipline, I work for Rob Ball and on his team we really believe that automation is key. We see automation as a very critical component to reaching our sustainability goals. Yes there’s behavior change, yes there’s conservation but automation is a key. So we’re looking for any possible way to get more automation in our hotels, to improve automation systems that exist, to expand existing systems and to get as much new automation as we can get. In this effort automation is expensive. The utilities have let us, by what they incent to auto D R. Their incenting variable speed drives, their incenting automation of all different types: outside air controls variable speed drives on chillers lighting, and those kind of things, but the biggest incentives are for automation that are purpose driven for auto demand response so the utilities led this to us and because those incentives were there that got us looking at the programs and when we really got down to brass tax and really started digging in to who can really do this, who’s the partner that we can align with, who can help us get to where we want to be there’s only one name out there, its Constellation.
[Making the Business Case]
When they actually modeled it and we actually went to the markets they had what we call double dips the first first dip is do they have demand response programs are they paying you to shed load the second dip is is the utility progressive enough where they see the value and they’re paying for the automation so we went to the double dip markets, California, Texas, ISO new England, and New York.
The 260 hotels that reside in these markets we split into buckets we modeled it up and this thing is a such a compelling business case that it would be silly not to do it. So I think some of the numbers that I would throw out there, the value of this contract to Marriott, it’s a five year deal. The value to Marriott in the next 5 years is over 10 million dollars. Now 1.3 million dollars of that is in incentives, so think about that. Without this project that’s 1.3 million dollars we would have not gotten and then I think roughly 3 million of it is in improved efficiencies of the hotels. 3 million dollars in improve efficiencies in electrical and gas and then the remaining, roughly 5 million dollars is in demand revenues that we would not, we would have got some of it manually but it’s probably 400% of what anything we would have been able to get without the automation.
The last piece of the business case that’s kind of the unknown yet very exciting is that, there are real time programs where if you have the automation and you can respond instantly we can actually start to get in programs we never had the opportunity to play in before. So the model the numbers that I shared with you are conservative based on the programs we’ve you know worked on historically and don’t even tab what’s out there yet because that we haven’t been able to play in because we didn’t have the automation.
This projects been a slam dunk, and we’ve had nothing but success, moving it forward so I think Constellation needs to be recognized for the amount of commitment, effort, and teamwork they’ve demonstrated in helping me get this project from conception, to pilot, to model, to funded and over the hump and actually we’re installing now.