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Chicago Marriott Hotel

Downtown Magnificent Mile
Project Photo
PROJECT SNAPSHOT: Chicago Marriott Hotel
Energy-saving improvements Tower and Chiller upgrades
Estimated first-year energy savings 1,287,000 kWh
Total project cost $3,800,000
ComEd Energy Efficiency Program Incentive $205,000
Incremental cost for high-efficiency equipment $638,000
Estimated annual electric cost savings $103,000*
Estimated payback after incentives 6 years*

*Estimated annual cost savings are based on an electricity rate of 0.0799 cents per kWh

Project Summary

The Chicago Marriott Hotel, located conveniently along the city’s Magnificent Mile, offers panoramic views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. To help the 970,000-square-foot hotel retain its status as a downtown destination for travelers, management completed a range of equipment upgrades, including an aesthetic facelift throughout its 1,200 rooms and suites.

Keeping pace with guest-facing enhancements, the hotel is giving some much-needed attention to its major mechanical systems — most recently with the installation of new chiller equipment. Negligible interruption to daily operations confirmed Marriott’s decision to make this energy efficiency upgrade a priority.

As Marriott learned, choosing energy efficient equipment not only lowers operating costs but can also earn incentives from the ComEd® Energy Efficiency Program. The availability of incentives from ComEd made Marriott’s replacement decision a no-brainer.

The Solution

For over 40 years, the hotel relied on its original mechanical equipment to keep guests comfortable year-round. In particular, two 1,200-ton chillers worked in concert with a cooling tower on the roof to keep the hotel’s guest rooms and suites air conditioned during the hottest months of the year. Though still functioning, that original equipment was struggling to keep up with the demand. According to Ty Sanders, the hotel’s director of engineering, the chillers were beyond the end of their useful lives, and it was time to explore options to bring the system up to date. One of the first and most important decisions made to improve energy efficiency was to downsize the two existing 1,200-ton chillers and replace them with three 800-ton chillers. The smaller equipment gave the Marriott greater flexibility to manage the building efficiently.

Marriott received over $200,000 in incentives for its chiller replacement project because the team chose qualifying high-efficiency equipment. “The incentives were a nice bonus to move the project forward,” said Sanders. “The team made the approval process go smoothly.”

Project Benefits

Following a seamless approval and installation process, Sanders said the hotel has achieved numerous benefits from the new cooling equipment. Guest and employees are more comfortable, and maintenance receives fewer service calls.

The addition of the third chiller also gives Marriott more flexibility to control the temperature in spaces across the hotel. The Energy Efficiency Service Provider that completed the project stated the reason behind the decision: “With the old equipment, if they had to shut down one chiller during the summer, they could run into issues. Now they have the luxury of energy savings, along with greater options for operations and maintenance.”

“Our energy savings from the chillers add up to approximately $100,000 per year. Our guests and employees are more comfortable. From a maintenance perspective, we’ve received fewer service calls, and the new equipment allows us to operate more efficiently during periods between the heating and cooling seasons.”

Ty Sanders, Director of Engineering
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