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Customer Story

Santikos Entertainment Improves Moviegoer Experience and Saves Energy

Family-owned movie theater brand in San Antonio elevates the movie-watcher’s experience with a focus on comfort and energy efficiency. Upgraded equipment and building controls enhance thermal comfort, acoustics, lighting, and air quality – all while saving funds to go back to the community.

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Products Used: Building Management Systems,

Topic: Optimal Comfort, IEQ,

  • 30% annual energy savings
  • 3.8 million kWh annual energy savings

A century of community-minded innovation

Santikos Theater
Santikos Theater

Santikos Entertainment, located in San Antonio, Texas, has been synonymous with movies and family entertainment for more than a century. The company’s origins in San Antonio date back to 1911 when Louis Santikos founded the company and opened his first theater.

His son, John L. Santikos, went on to build the company into one of the largest family-owned theater brands in Texas. Santikos was a visionary, merging leading-edge technology with a comfortable atmosphere to provide movie-goers with the best experience possible. 

As part of his estate, John donated Santikos Entertainment to the San Antonio Area Foundation. Santikos Entertainment remains a for-profit company that exists for the sole purpose of funding area nonprofits that benefit people in need, education, arts and culture, and medical research.


That legacy continues today, with a focus on the elements of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) according to Andrew Brooks, Chief Marketing Officer at Santikos Entertainment.

Santikos Theater mezzanine

“We’re very intentional about maintaining our long-standing reputation for an excellent all-around experience in our theaters, and the first thing we focus on is individual comfort and environmental quality,” Brooks said. “It’s the sound you hear, the movie you watch, the popcorn you eat and the air you breathe, all of it's important to us."

The climate of San Antonio is subtropical, with mild winters and hot, muggy summers. The city is in southern Texas, about 125 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
From June to September, the combination of high temperatures and humidity can be very uncomfortable, with the hottest days reaching above 100 degrees. 

This presented a significant challenge, especially with highly variable occupancy due to show schedules and other programming.  Secondary objectives included implementing a sustainable solution to conserve energy and lower operating expenses to maintain a steady flow of donations, sponsorships, grants, and programming for the community.


Santikos Theater leather seats with tables

Santikos Entertainment turned to its trusted supplier Trane for an IEQ solution it could apply across its theater fleet at that point in time and leverage in the future.  

“We know that working with Trane gives us innovative technology and responsive service to deliver the best experience possible for our guests,” said Brooks. 

Theaters inherently involve a rapidly changing load profile that can pose real challenges to control of the indoor environment, according to Jared Lambert who is the Trane Commercial Systems account manager working with Santikos management. 

“Humidity is a concern for Santikos as it relates to comfort in each of their theaters,” Lambert noted. “A major challenge with auditoria design is that there are dramatic swings in occupancy levels throughout the day, which adds complexity in maintaining a certain temperature and relative humidity."

Trane’s variable capacity technology allows the equipment to adjust to these changing load conditions in real time and provide a “best in class” indoor environment for Santikos patrons.

Santikos Theater interior entrance

Trane eFlex series units tied to a Building Management System (BMS) address the changes in use and occupancy throughout the day by custom programming the units. The web-based BMS eliminates the complexity of managing multiple systems across multiple sites. Custom settings and the ability to adjust remotely in real time not only optimize energy efficiency but also allow for adjustments for special events.

“In addition to maintaining steady temperature and humidity levels, the Trane system delivers additional benefits. For example, Trane variable speed technology eliminates the kind of noise you get with less sophisticated equipment switching on and off to maintain set points, Lambert said. “This is especially important in movie theaters where sight and sound converge with physical comfort for the most satisfying guest experience.”


The impact of the comprehensive energy and infrastructure upgrades on six of the Santikos theaters can be felt all year round, even during the peak season of 100+ degree temperatures and extreme humidity.

“Santikos guests enjoy a comfortable indoor environment, with more closely controlled temperatures and better indoor air quality (IAQ) from well-ventilated air, and optimal light levels, all while lowering costs, said Brooks.

The Santikos investment in IEQ also equated to an annual 30% energy savings, when comparing electrical charges in pre-pandemic audiences in 2018 to electrical charges in 2022 when movie-goers returned to theaters. 

The annual savings involve 3,800,000 kWh in electricity. Using the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator to convert to carbon metrics, this is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of approximately 340 households.

“We are excited to welcome people back to the theaters and provide a comfortable viewing environment,” said Andrew Brooks, Santikos Entertainment. “Working with Trane, we were able to enhance the experience in our theaters. To deliver on our promise while reducing energy consumption is especially impactful as those savings go back to the community.”

Trane presented Santkos Entertainment with an Indoor Environmental Quality Award for implementing the essential elements of IEQ in its theaters, including indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting, and acoustics.

“We are honored to collaborate with Santikos Entertainment to help make the San Antonio area a better place,” said Lambert. “Their commitment to the community is only equaled by their commitment to guest comfort. We are proud to support both with highly efficient solutions that help create a better indoor environment while reducing energy use, all of which will benefit the community for years to come.”

Santikos Entertainment is enthused about its results as it expanded its existing footprint from 10 locations to 27 across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, rising as the 8th largest theater circuit in North America.

“The Trane Indoor Environmental Quality award symbolizes the importance we place on the customer experience and the spirit of collaboration, solutions, and responsiveness of our Trane team to help us deliver on that promise,” said Brooks. “The Trane team and solutions will be a constant as we continue to grow and enhance our theater and entertainment facilities.”

Santikos Theater leather seats
Santikos Theater lounge area
Santikos Theater IMAX seats
Santikos Theater arcade