Orchard Hotel Group San Francisco
Two 10-story hotels
1. Automatically identified inefficiencies and malfunctions in equipment 2. Provided measurement and validation of energy efficiency upgrades 3. Benchmarking across properties revealed opportunities for savings

"Most GMs want to know what's going on in their hotels. By having a system like Verdigris, you can delegate that information so you don't have to be in ten places at the same time.
Just let Verdigris do that for you."
— Juan Bueno, General Manager, Orchard Hotel Group

The Challenge

Orchard and Orchard Garden hotels have long been recognized as among the most sustainable properties in San Francisco. But with an understaffed engineering office, General Manager Juan Bueno lacked bandwidth to effectively manage energy spend at multiple sites, and needed a way to measure success and return on investment for new energy efficiency projects.

In particular, Juan wanted a better way to monitor energy usage and compare results between the two properties he managed. Each 10 stories tall, with a roughly equal number of rooms, and located just 500 yards apart, the energy consumption profiles should be very similar. In fact, this wasn’t the case.

The Approach

Orchard turned to Verdigris to track energy usage in real-time and with high granularity, giving them the detail needed to make informed engineering decisions. Verdigris installed two systems in each building and began generating actionable insights within five days, a process that Juan described as “effortless” and without interfering with day-to-day operations.

The high resolution of Verdigris’ sensors goes beyond simple energy management by directly highlighting critical equipment malfunctions and inefficiencies. Additionally, a convenient dashboard provides access to this continuous data, leading to clear and targeted recommendations to present to ownership.

The Results

Boosting Maintenance Staff Capacity
Before Verdigris was installed, daily physical walk-throughs helped identify problems before guests notified them of issues, with maintenance staff dispatched to fix them before they became critical. At least when they could catch them.

With Verdigris, inefficiencies and malfunctions in equipment were identified automatically, including:
- A broken chilled water pump that maintenance checks had missed, leading to overloading of the paired pump
- No activity on stairwell pressurization fans, required by building code
- Minimal activity on corridor exhaust fans
- Standby heater for the emergency generator shut down for two weeks

Rather than allocating time to hunting for unknown problems, Orchard’s chief engineer could allocate time to fixing problems they already knew existed.

Better ROI Measurement and M&V
Juan had been experimenting with different efficiency measures, including VFDs and lighting. Circuit level data provided by Verdigris allowed him to isolate the impact of these projects to measure and verify their value.

For lighting, after experimenting with different wattages and validating spending with Verdigris data, Juan was able to determine that 150W bulbs would result in the lowest electricity bill. Equipped with this information, Juan could confidently upgrade corridor lighting throughout the building.

In another instance, Juan replaced a 2-step fan drive on the cooling tower with a variable frequency drive. A before-and-after analysis showed a clear improvement: a frequently changing, high-spiking power draw was now smooth and predictable. In the peak heating months, average hourly energy use on the circuit was 18% lower, with real savings in energy and peak demand charges. But the vendor models had promised 30% savings or more and a 15-month payback; ground truth data pointed to a much longer payback.

With granular energy data, Juan was able to more comprehensively evaluate the potential ROI of new projects, like waterside economizers and on-site battery storage.

Portfolio and Building Benchmarking
On the surface, these two properties could not be more similar. They’re both 10 stories. One has 86 rooms, one 104. They were built six years apart. Just two city blocks separates them. But in terms of energy usage, they weren’t as similar as you’d expect.

Verdigris data showed that the newer hotel was consuming 15% more energy per square foot. After investigating further down to the room level, the data revealed that although overall energy at the newer hotel was higher, energy per unoccupied room was consistently lower.

The newer hotel had a keycard access system, requiring guests and housekeeping staff to insert their key to turn on the lights. Without the keycard, unoccupied rooms drew just a few
hundred watts per day from persistent load, 30% below the sister property. Now Juan can show his ownership the value that this system delivers in both energy savings and real dollars.

What’s Next?

Verdigris provided Orchard with a clearer picture of where energy is going at both properties, while providing notifications to engineering staff to help them spend time more efficiently.

Further context into monthly energy bills and the impact of improvements has Juan and the Orchard ownership group excited by the potential of what better data can unlock within their buildings. Moving forward, they are looking to benchmark progress over time to showcase real savings and environmental improvements at the two properties.