Why You Need a Guestroom Master Switch Forty-four states require hotel guestroom master switches of some type. The code requirements behind master switches can be confusing as there are varying requirements by state. Additionally, this area of the code constantly changes to meet new energy regulations. All this leads to many questions regarding master switches– some of which I address below. What is a hotel guestroom master switch?
- A guestroom master switch is the main light switch that controls all wired lights and switched receptacles in a guestroom. (A switched receptacle is a wall outlet that can be turned on or off via a wall switch)
- The purpose of a master switch is to have one easy-to-flip switch for a guest to turn off all lights before they leave the room. (Please note: this does not include in-room lamps that are controlled via a switch on the fixture.)
What are the current code requirements and recent code amendments?
- For the last 15 years, master switches have been required for all new hotel rooms to control wired lights and switched receptacles. This is based on the IECC (International Energy Conservation Code), ASHRAE 90.1 and California Title 24 codes.
- For the most current 2018 versions of three of these codes, the master switch also needs to be connected to an occupancy sensor. The master switch must be programmed to turn off 20 minutes after a guest leaves the room. The only code exception to the occupancy sensor requirement is the use of a key card control slot at the entry of each guestroom. However, key card controls are becoming less common.
Why haven’t I experienced code issues before? Many developers, architects, and jurisdiction leaders remain unaware of the IECC code and the specific requirements that must be followed. Because of this, new hotels are still being built without master switches. How can I meet the code requirements and enrich guest experience?
- According to code, the master switch must be located at the main entry door of a guestroom. This allows guests to easily flip the switch off (e.g., turning all room lights off with one click) when they leave the room.
- For an improved guest experience, some developers also choose to pair the master switch at the entry with a remote switch at the bedside. This allows guests to easily turn off lights when going to bed.
- One product that can be used to do this is the Legrand Adorne Furniture Power Center. This allows hotels to add lighting controls directly in the guestroom headboard as shown below.
Which states require master switches? See below for a map of the master switch requirements by state with the respective IECC state regulations.
If you’d like to discuss the specific needs for master switches on your next hotel project, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or phone.