With energy expenditures commanding larger and larger portions of the corporate budget, monitoring, managing and predicting energy use is paramount. For a hotel, which serves a largely transient population, the process is particularly challenging. When an opportunity arose to develop sound energy practices, the JW Marriott Washington DC, under the leadership of its Dual Director of Engineering Rajaram Srinivasan, became fully engaged in the process.
Located just a short walk from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, the hotel’s 15 stories include some 750 guest rooms and suites and 37,000 square feet of meeting space.
The project began when the U.S. Department of Energy’s building technology group wanted to pilot a project to implement ISO 50001, the international standard for energy management developed by the International Organization for Standardization, in the commercial building sector. “Familiar with the work of Georgia Tech’s Energy and Sustainability Services (ESS) team in implementing ISO 50001 in industrial settings, the DOE group asked us to be the training organization for the pilot,” said Bill Meffert ESS manager. ESS is a service of the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP), a part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.
Meffert’s team provided initial ISO 50001 training and several webinars to the JW Marriott and the seven other organization in the pilot. “As the pilot progressed, we were asked to provide one-on-one coaching for the companies that were most committed to full adoption of the system,” Meffert said. At that point, colleague Holly Grell-Lawe, Sustainability Project Manager, worked intensely with the JW Marriott to “get them into the end zone.”
Grell-Lawe praises the dedication of Marriott’s Srinivasan for much of the hotel’s success in working through the lengthy and demanding process of meeting the standard’s requirements. “Raj had the overall responsibility for implementing the system and ensuring that it functions effectively, and he really made a personal commitment to the project,” she said. “He worked with a team, but he is the one who made it happen. He owned it.”
With Srinivasan leadership, the JW Marriott Washington DC became the first hotel in the United States to achieve full ISO 50001 certification. “While the ISO does not require certification by an independent auditor of conformity of the user’s energy management system to ISO 50001, Marriott decided to take that step,” said Grell-Lawe. “It demonstrates to stakeholders and customers that a full audit of their system verified that it was properly implemented and effective.”
Marriott cites several ways in which implementing ISO 50001 has been valuable, including increasing employee awareness of energy issues and the benefit of behavioral changes to support energy management and helping the hotel develop achievable energy performance targets.
Srinivasan credits the Georgia Tech ESS team with providing invaluable support and guidance throughout the project. “Holly and her teammates helped me anticipate what each step would entail and provided both the knowledge and the encouragement to reach our goals,” he said.