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ZigBee Cuts Hotel Energy Costs up to 40 Percent

April 2, 2007
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BOSTON - A new ZigBee wireless environmental automation system is enabling hotels of the Westmont Hospitality Group to eliminate energy waste and cut costs up to 40 percent.

Invented by Riga Development, the new WiSuite™ Environmental Management System uses Ember’s ZigBee wireless networking technology to let property owners automate and control the energy efficiency of every room, without compromising the comfort of occupants. WiSuite yields savings by reducing the electric and fuel consumption of HVAC systems. And since it’s wireless, WiSuite can be retrofitted more easily and affordably into existing buildings.

WiSuite has shown its value to the Westmont Hospitality Group, one of the world’s largest privately held hospitality organizations. Westmont is saving energy with WiSuite in several of its Comfort Inn and Holiday Inn properties in the Toronto area, and is evaluating a nationwide roll out to its other properties. When complete, Westmont expects to save more than $2.2 million in energy costs per year. This equates to 14,678 megawatt hours of electricity - enough energy to power 2,332 households yearly - and will eliminate 12,500 metric tons of coal-generated carbon dioxide emissions, making a significant, positive environmental impact.

“Westmont chose the WiSuite solution from Riga Development for its innovative approach to energy management,” said Steve Montague, director of information technology for the Westmont Hospitality Group. “With features designed specifically for the hospitality industry and a wireless approach to communications, it was the hands down winner when compared to the competition.”

HOW IT WORKS

The ZigBee-based WiSuite system automatically self-configures into a wireless mesh network of “WiStat” digital thermostats, appliances, and receivers installed throughout a building. The WiStats and other appliance controls monitor the rooms’ environment, providing a comfortable experience for occupants from the moment they check-in, while reducing energy use in unoccupied rooms, and alerting staff to potential problems.

A WiSuite Control Center, securely accessible from any Web browser, lets facility managers and front desk hotel staff wirelessly control the devices, monitor their status, and set up custom schedules. To completely automate energy savings, WiSuite connects to a hotel’s existing reservation system through the WiSuite Reservations Bridge, enabling it to automatically respond to check-in and check-out dates and times.

WiSuite devices are designed to run for years on inexpensive AA batteries, communicating with receivers integrated into existing appliances. This eliminates the need for costly, disruptive rewiring in retrofit installations. Because it uses ZigBee, the system is said to be scalable to tens of thousands of devices. Users can monitor and control every room in their operation from the WiSuite Control Center, whether they have just a few dozen units, a 5,000 room complex, or a global chain of hotels.

“With our leasing plan, the energy savings WiSuite provides typically exceeds the cost of the lease payments themselves,” said Rick Bojahra, president of Riga. “That means customers can start earning a positive cash flow from their investment on day one.”

WiSuite’s wireless network intelligence is enabled by Ember’s EM250 ZigBee system-on-a-chip and EmberZNet™, Ember’s ZigBee-compliant networking software. The EM250 integrates a programmable microprocessor, RF radio, network protocol stack, and memory into a tiny, single-chip solution smaller than a shirt button.

“The EM250 ZigBee system from Ember offered us dramatic reductions in component size, cost, and power consumption, while enabling us to eliminate the use of a secondary microcontroller,” said Bojahra. “We went with Ember because it is clearly leading the ZigBee market place. The technology works as promised. And Ember’s development environment far exceeded every other vendor’s in ease of use, as did Ember’s service and support.”

“Riga’s WiSuite is a great example of the kind of difference that ZigBee can make to the energy savings, safety, and comfort in buildings and homes,” said Robert LeFort, CEO of Ember.

For more information on the WiSuite Environmental Management System, visit www.wisuite.com. For more information on Ember, visit www.ember.com.

Publication date: 04/02/2007

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