Meeting IECC and ASHRE Standard Requirements  for Hotel HVAC and Lighting

Master Lighting & HVAC Controls
in the Hotel Guestroom



Today’s building energy codes are more stringent than ever, requiring design engineers and construction professionals...

to push the boundaries of innovative system design and construction. This, in conjunction with the growing complexity of direct digital controls, specialized building systems and the need for cross discipline integration, has brought commissioning to the forefront. Energy codes and energy design standards have recognized the importance of commissioning and the impact it has on improving building functionality, system optimization and overall energy efficiency.


The lighting section of Standard 90.1 has become increasingly sophisticated over the past 14 years, particularly in regard to lighting controls.


  • Certain hotel and motel guest rooms must install lighting controls that automatically turn off power to lighting and switched outlets after a period of vacancy.


  • Lighting in commercial and industrial storage stack areas must be controlled by an occupancy sensor that reduces lighting power by at least 50 percent.


  • Depending on the controls selected, some occupancy sensors must be set to turn the lights off within 20 minutes after a space is vacated.


  • Daylight harvesting step-dimming control now requires two control points between off and full-on—one dim level between 50–70 percent of design power and one between 20–40 percent—to provide greater flexibility.


  • A second automatic lighting shutoff option is required for certain occupancy sensor installations—partial-off to 50 percent of design power within 20 minutes of the space being vacated—spaces where the lights are periodically not needed but must remain on.


  • More specific requirements for the functional testing of lighting controls have been added, specifically occupancy sensors, automatic time switches and daylight controls.

Title 24 Guest Room Occupancy Controls California Statewide Utility Codes and Standards Program has Grown to Include Most States


Guestroom Master Lighting Requirements by State


 Master Lighting Not Required


 Master Lighting Required


 Master Lighting with Occupancy Sensor Required

New ASHRAE standards for HVAC equipment has stricter codes requiring much greater efficiency and reduced energy usage. Therefore, what’s good for the environment means great savings for you.


Systems serving hotel/motel guest rooms must comply with automatic control of HVAC (Section, which includes the following:

  • New Buildings
  • Additions to Existing Buildings
  • Alterations in Existing Buildings


And States the following:

Heating, cooling, & ventilation automatically reduced when unoccupied


Control Setpoint Configuration Requirements

In many of the controls requirements it was stated that controls must be capable of some configuration.  This has been changed to not only require that they are capable but they shall be configured to the defined requirement.


Hotels and motels with > 50 guest rooms to have automatic HVAC controls to apply the following requirements within 30 minutes of all occupants leaving the room:

Guest Room HVAC Setpoint Control. Automatically raised by ≥ 4°F from the occupant set point (cooling). Automatically lowered ≥ 4°F from the occupant set point (heating).


Specific conditions for unrented and unoccupied rooms.

Ventilation and exhaust fans automatically be turned off, or isolation devices serving each guest room shall automatically shut off the supply of outdoor air to the guest room and shut off exhaust air from the room.


New requirements were added for hotel and motel guest room control When unrented and unoccupied, HVAC set points automatically reset to 80°F or higher (cooling) and to 60°F or lower (heating). Unrented and unoccupied guest rooms are indicated by: Continuously unoccupied for up to 16 hours.


A networked guest room control system indicates the guest room is unrented and the guest room is unoccupied for up to 30 minutes.

Comfort and convenience

Your guests and staff will appreciate having lighting at optimal levels as well as controls that are easy to operate, or require no effort. Mandatory code-compliance and sustainable design Energy codes like ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC dictate lighting controls in new construction, and guests want to patronize businesses that are environmentally friendly. Controlling lights to save energy helps in achieving green, LEED-certified, designs.


Safety and security

Travelers who feel safe and secure on your property are likely to return. By controlling both exterior and interior lighting you can be assured of providing safe, well-lit spaces.


Reduced operating expenses

Automatically turning lights off when they’re not needed reduces energy bills and increases lamp life, putting more green back in your budget.

“Sleeping units in hotels, motels, boarding houses or similar buildings shall have at least one master switch at the main entry door that controls all permanently wired luminaires and switched receptacles, except those in the bathroom(s). Suites shall have a control meeting these requirements at the entry to each room or at the primary entry to the suite.”


-- Section 505.2.3 IECC

Two ways to achieve master lighting control compliance

Wired Master Light Switch

Each switch leg is run back to the master switch

via line voltage

Wireless Master Light Switch

Master switch communicates via low voltage cable or radio frequency through the thermostat

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