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Hyatt Regency O'Hare


The first opportunity to present a positive impression about the relative safety of a hotel or motel property is at the perimeter. Balanced and even exterior lighting — designed to fill the gap between the property boundary and the hotel entrance — is the most important nighttime security feature. Public areas, when bathed in light, are both inviting to the guest and a powerful deterrent to crime.

Exterior lighting has three primary functions – safety, security and ambiance.  With sustainability and design now complementing each other, LED luminaires for outdoor general lighting provide a win for everyone.


Excluding labor, energy is typically the highest cost that hoteliers face and is the single fastest-growing operating cost in the hospitality industry.1  The hospitality industry spends approximately $4 billion a year on energy, with electricity accounting for 60-70 percent of the utility costs.2 This provides an excellent opportunity to consider better, energy-efficient technology.

In the hotel sector, reducing energy costs while continuing to meet the diverse needs of guests, owners and corporate requirements is challenging but by no means impossible.  A large portion of a property’s energy costs is for lighting, representing almost a quarter of all electricity consumed [in a typical hotel].3  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Upgrading outdated technology with LED luminaires can reduce electricity use by 50 percent or more.4


According to the Department of Energy (DOE), outdoor area lighting is a major contributor to nationwide energy use, and the market segment has been an important player in the transition to SSL. When it comes to energy efficiency, LED outdoor area luminaires now easily outperform their conventional counterparts.5

Having a parking lot properly illuminated – without dim areas between lamp poles – is key to providing an increased level of security and safety. Better control light distribution with LED luminaires greatly improves uniformity while minimizing hot spots, glare and light trespass.

In a report by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, the LED adoption rate is expected to surge in the hospitality sector to about 80 percent in 2020.6


As a leading global hospitality company, Hyatt is in the business of caring for people so they can be their best. The company’s purpose defines practices and inspires engagement with guests, colleagues, owners and neighbors to build strong communities and foster sustainable environmental practices.


In an effort to reduce maintenance and energy costs, and provide more uniform exterior illumination, Hyatt Regency O’Hare recently completed an LED luminaire upgrade. In a one-for-one replacement, (41) 120-watt pole-mounted LED luminaires replaced 400-watt metal halide (MH) fixtures in the hotel’s parking lot and (16) 30-watt LED wall pack luminaires replaced 100-watt MH fixtures around the exterior of the property. Additionally, above the front entrance exterior glass overhang, (8) new 80-watt LED luminaire upgraded the 250-watt MH fixture.

The previous MH fixtures would regularly burn out. However, at the cost of $50 – $70 each light plus labor hours the hotel delayed replacing them until sections were poorly illuminated because they needed to rent a bucket truck to change lights. Unfortunately, as soon as a group of lights were repaired, other fixtures would burn out – the hotel rarely experienced all fixtures working at the same time. Also, as the lights aged, the quality of light decreased causing different color lighting in various areas. Now, the new LED luminaires are virtually maintenance free and come with a five-year warranty.

“The new LED luminaires deliver consistent illumination and effective color rendering across the property that is inviting and secure for guests,” said Tony Fiore, director of engineering Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

Fiore and his staff looked at other LED solutions but were convinced that California-based Optec LED’s luminaires would offer a superior solution because of their unique thermal design that handles the heat better and a more advanced optical design.

A desire to create a safe environment in the parking lot and around the property as well as reduce energy costs and consumption drove the decision to upgrade the exterior lighting. The LED retrofit will reduce energy consumption from 19,795 kWh to 5,160 kWh and is anticipated to achieve a payback in under four years. The hotel also received a $6,000 incentive rebate from ComED®.

The parking lot and hotel perimeter are now all evenly illuminated, providing a welcoming and safe environment for guests and employees. The benefit of improved quality of light levels and safer environments that comes from LED technology was an important factor noted by Fiore.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the LED retrofit,” Fiore added.