Salvatore's Grand Hotel, winner of numerous awards including the TripAdvisor® 2010, 2011 and 2012 Certificates of Excellence, has just entered into an agreement to become the first hotel in the world to benefit from joint technology integration between ZENO Controls LLC and its newly acquired division, Verve® Living Systems. Last month ZENO, developer of the ZENO wireless gateway and universal controller, announced the purchase of the Verve Living Systems product line of guestroom switches, sensors and thermostats, as well as HVAC, lighting and load controls. Buffalo's famed independent boutique hotel will immediately begin installation of the award-winning Verve® Keycard Switch that will provide point-to-point communication with the room PTAC-air conditioners and be centrally controlled in a wireless environment by the ZENO gateway. This Mesh network will prepare Salvatore's Grand Hotel for a rapid return on investment through immediate energy savings and better position the 100-room hotel for future technology adaptation.
"Russell Salvatore, owner of Salvatore's Grand Hotel and a famed Restaurateur in Buffalo, knew there was an opportunity to save on energy costs, but due to the building's infrastructure, a hard wired solution was out of the question," said Partner and General Manager Mark Jerge. "Wiring the property would not only be too cumbersome and expensive, but it would require taking rooms out of inventory and current occupancy levels prohibit this type of installation. We have been looking for options and actually tried installing energy-saving motion sensors when constructing the property, but they were not guest friendly and we soon removed them. The only solution we found to be a true 'home run' was Verve® powered by ZENO. Not only will it allow us to take a hands-on approach to guestroom controls, but it gives our guests a choice in whether or not they want to participate in our efforts to save energy and ultimately contribute positively to our environment."
Jerge explained that previously the hotel used an in-room environment controller for energy management and lighting that was not well received by his guests.
"The fact that it was universally generic to each room, we soon realized it was not a positive solution for all," he said. "Some guests mentioned the devise resembled a camera, other guests felt uneasy when lights would turn on and off based on timers and movements, or lack thereof. Guests would be reading, or watching the TV, and things would shut off. Equally as disturbing, if they woke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, the controller would detect movement and all the electronics or lighting that was "on" before they fell asleep would trigger, startling the occupants."
Verve uses wireless sensors and control products to affordably generate energy-saving solutions for controlling HVAC, lighting and miscellaneous electric loads in guestrooms. ZENO wirelessly connects intelligent devices in rooms to central controls.
Here's how it works: The Verve® Keycard Switch is small, wireless, and requires no batteries to operate. When a guest enters the room, he or she places the room key into the slot on the KeyCard Switch which then transmits a wireless signal. When in place, guests have complete control over the lights, outlets and the HVAC unit in the room. When removed, the room is designated as unoccupied and electrical devices will turn off or go into eco set back mode, preventing the room’s temperature from moving outside of a comfortable range on return.
Through its Mesh communication with the front desk, the ZENO network not only turns systems on and off, but it also can detect which in-room devices have low battery levels; which rooms have constant occupancy; which rooms have problems with network connectivity; and which are not communicating properly with the hotel PMS and other systems. It tracks and reports equipment run-time which helps in a property's preventive maintenance processes and calculates the energy savings being achieved.
"We operate at a consistent 95 percent occupancy; therefore we can't afford to take any rooms offline," Jerge said. "This joint technology removes that scenario altogether. We don't even have to move the furniture. By communicating over the ZENO gateway to the front desk, we can take control of the room once the guest has checked out. It's very common, almost the norm, for travelers to leave on lights, the TV and/or HVAC when they check out. This is a huge waste of energy. With this system, when someone checks out, the front desk can take control of the room, prior to housekeeping's arrival, and turn temperatures to pre-set limits and shut off lights and equipment altogether. This is a real win for us.
"In addition to providing benefits at check out, Verve powered by ZENO will also provide a real guest-service at check in," he said. "We used to leave a lamp on after cleaning to welcome the guest upon arrival. Some lamps theoretically could be on for two days with no occupants. Now, we will leave all lights off after our cleaning inspection and then, as soon as a guest is registered, the front desk will turn on two bedside lamps remotely so that when the door opens, instead of searching for a light switch, the room is already displayed with ambient lighting. Room temperature also can be pre-set and activated at check in. It's a great way to greet your guests and provide that heightened level of service that is so often lacking at larger hotel chains."
Installation of the joint ZENO/Verve solution is underway. It is projected that all rooms will be equipped with the Verve Keycard Switch by the end of the year. According to Jerge, a return on investment is projected at less than two years by local utility companies.
"We are thrilled that the Salvatore Grand Hotel is the first to go LIVE with ZENO Gateways connecting the Verve controls to the front desk and beyond to the cloud," said Joshua Alper, ZENO Controls General Manager. "This hotel will soon take personal control of guestroom energy and lighting to improve customer satisfaction, build loyalty, and boost its bottom line. Previously, the Salvatore Grand Hotel's energy-management system was a source of frustration for guests and management alike. In a very short time, the hotel's new ZENO/Verve solution will serve as an online, networked system, providing centralized control in the cloud. This low-power consumption technology will not only deliver immediate results today, but its expandable platform is setting the hotel up for future success. We look forward to seeing this project to fruition and introducing it to others in lodging who are looking for affordable and effective in-room controls."
About ZENO Controls, LLC
ZENO Controls – Wireless Gateways that connect families of intelligent devices to central controls. ZENO provides “Packaged” solutions that include pre-configured, pre-scripted and pre-linked lighting and HVAC system controls. T end-devices, hardware/firmware and software components perform as a Complete Building Management System, or as a Wireless Device Gateway to an existing building controls. ZENO is headquartered in Buffalo NY.
Verve Living Systems, a division of ZENO Controls LLC, manufactures energy-efficiency control products that enable simple and affordable control of lighting, temperature and electrical loads in new and existing buildings. Based on both wireless and energy harvesting technologies, Verve sensors are wireless and battery-less, making them cost effective and eco-friendly. Verve product solutions can provide an effective return on investment through energy savings without compromising occupant comfort. Verve Living Systems is headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y.