Motels (sleeping only)



Accommodations in motels tend to be in the economy and moderate (rather than luxury) category and consist mainly of single rooms with a toilet and bath adjacent to the corridor and additional guest rooms on both sides. Today, rooms are also designated as smoking and non-smoking. In addition to the guest rooms, these facilities usually include lobbies and continental breakfast rooms. A business center and an indoor or outdoor pool may also be included, as well as a small workout area and hot tub.

Restaurants are usually stand-alone buildings located adjacent to the motel. The restaurant is usually separately owned and operated and may be a full service or fast food restaurant.

Additional Information:

Food Service
Fitness Clubs
Indoor Pools


The HVAC system serving the guest rooms should be quiet, individually controlled, draft-free, and provide adequate fresh air. Designs that require minimal room space are also important. The higher quality facility owners will favor low owning and operating costs, while those focused on low room prices usually look primarily at lowest first cost even though this often fails to produce the lowest overall cost. Reliability and guest comfort regarding climate and noise will not be as important in many cases.

Typical System

Guest room systems for these facilities are usually individual, plug in, PTAC room units. Units are typically located in the outer wall. Each bathroom must be supplied with outdoor air (current ASHRAE Standard 62 requires at least 35 cfm) and in some climates, baths have supplementary heat. Systems must be low-maintenance and easily repaired, since shut-down will result in loss of revenue.

Non-guest room spaces (office, breakfast area, and common guest areas) are usually served by individual rooftop or split systems.

Energy Saving Recommendations

Individual guest room energy management systems may be the most economical option so that units in unoccupied rooms can be shutoff (for low humidity, moderate climates), temperature reset (for high humidity, extreme climates), or all functions controlled from the front desk with guest override. Power line carriers are an excellent system for motels.

Water Heating

Domestic hot water applications are for guest room baths (tubs and showers, bathrooms), and general cleaning purposes. Peak demand, usually from shower use, may last one or two hours and then drop off sharply. Food service, laundry, and swimming pool requirements are additive.

Typical System

Most motels heat water with conventional gas water heaters or electric resistance water heaters; and, in some cases, point-of-use heaters. Hot water is typically stored in one or more insulated tanks until used. In some cases, larger tanks are used with the electric heaters programmed for off-peak operation. Most high quality motels use central distribution systems with storage and constant recirculation, because it is desirable to have hot water available continuously at the fixtures. The laundry will usually either have a separate water heater or a boost heater coupled with the central water heater.

Energy Saving Recommendations

If existing water heating systems are inefficient or inadequate, they should be promptly replaced with efficient, modern equipment. You may also wish to add timer controls and/or better insulation on storage tanks. The ASHRAE Applications Handbook chapter on Service Water Heating analyzes typical hot water use data as well as estimating procedures. High temperature hot water heaters may be useful for reducing peak electrical and/or gas loads and to meet the high, one or two hour, hot water use peaks.

Motel II


Typical System

Most motels do not have restaurants outside the continental breakfast area. Please refer to the Food Service section of this guide for further information.


Typical System

Motel lighting systems are generally chosen based on first cost. Incandescent lighting will provide most of the guest room lighting, and a combination of incandescent and fluorescent lighting will serve the common areas. Most of the exit signs will be incandescent. Exterior lighting will be a mix of compact fluorescent and incandescent, surface mounted units.

Energy Saving Recommendations

Most of the incandescent lighting should be replaced with fluorescent T-8 fixtures or compact fluorescent lamps. Concern over aesthetics can usually be overcome by potential energy and maintenance cost reductions.

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