NEMA staff do a lot of meetings. A lot of meetings all over the US, sometimes Canada, and sometimes Mexico. Most of the hotels that we hold the meetings at are environmentally conscious. They ask their guests to re-use towels and linens to help them "be green." Unfortunately, they are only part of the way there.

NEMA's efforts in recognizing and forming a High Performnace Buildings Council address something that the afore mentioned hotels do not. Green is just the beginning. High performance buildings also address energy efficiency, sustainability, life cycle, productivity, and many other areas. A large part of energy efficiency is conservation. Which gets me back to the hotels and other commercial properties. At a recent meeting in Pittsburgh, during a pre-meeting inspection of the room, the room felt bone chillingly cold. Finding the electronic programmable thermostat (good!), the read-out showed that the temperature setting was 54 degrees. The temperature in the room was an arctic 62 degrees. The outdoor temperature was in the 70's and expected to rise to the low 80's later in the day. What's a reasonable comfort setting? That has certainly been debated in work places over and over again. The thermostat was re-set to 70 degrees, still too chilly for some, but no complaints about it being too warm. It remained there for the second day of the meeting, again with no complaints. Checking into an individual room at the same hotel had the air conditioning set at the coldest setting. Again very cold conditions.

Why not let the customer decide to lower the temperature from a warmer setting? My guess is that if that were put into practice, hotels would notice significant energy savings and be able to talk about being good corporate citizens conserving energy. Then they would be more than part of the way there.


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