Error Proofing the Lights

What are some of the biggest wastes in a hotel or a resort?  The first answer that comes to mind is the waste of water.  Washing towels that may not need to be cleaned.  Many hotels and resorts reduced the water used to wash towels by asking guests to put dirty towels on the floor and hang ones that are clean.  It has become a fairly common practice.

So, what is the second biggest waste for a hotel or resort?  How about the consumption of electricity?  Have you ever left your room and left a light on or the TV going?  Earlier this month, I was on vacation at a large beach resort with over around 1,000 rooms.  Imagine if half of them left a light on in the room for 3 hrs extra a day.  That is a large bill.

The resort I was staying at found a way to error proof this and cut down their electricity consumption.  The picture below shows how they did this.

Light Switch

The slot on the right is for the room key card.  You have to slide the key into the slot to activate the electricity in the room.  The guests could then use the lights, TV and ceiling fans.  You always need your key when you leave the room (unless someone is still in the room), so you pull the key out and the electricity in the room is deactivated.

It was simple to use and made the right thing easy and the wrong thing very difficult.

Have you seen any other error proofing methods to save electricity?


Posted on July 21, 2015, in Error Proofing, Tools and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Whenever I get a hotel room I always ask for two keys. I keep the second one in my wallet, just in case I leave one in the room accidentally. Couples sometimes also ask for two keys because they may go their separate ways for activities. It seems that the second key could be used to by-pass this system of waste reduction. One possibility would be to have a charge for the second key, but I’m not sure how this would be perceived by guests. Any thoughts on this?

  2. If you want to bypass the system, it is easy even without an extra key: put a a credit card, a loyalty card or even a stiff business card in the slot. Most people won’t bother, though, since it is convenient to leave the room in a hurry without having to turn off lights, tv, etc.

  1. Pingback: Error Proofing the Lights | Lean Six Sigma Lead...

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