Sustainable tourism, environmental responsibility and reducing carbon footprint are a becoming more and more important part of hotel experience. Therefore, sustainable tourism represents an excellent opportunity for hoteliers. On one had, this is an opportunity to lower costs, while on the other hand this provides the guest an experience of responsibility without having to reduce the comfort of his/her stay.
6 Opportunities for Lowering Energy Costs in Hotels
1 FROM INTEGRAL ENERGY PLANING TO AN INTEGRAL ENERGY CONCEPT
Selecting the optimal energy systems in the time of a hotel investment will have an immense impact on its life cycle. Guest comfort, indoor air quality, operating cost, maintenance cost, integration, reliability, flexibility, and scalability of these systems are all factors that need to be considered and optimised when designing for sustainability.
When reconstructing an existing energy system of a hotel or planning a new one, the crucial first step is the preparation of a strategic energy development plan. In order to do that, the investor needs an experienced consultancy team, which should prepare an integral energy concept in the form of a pre-feasibility study.
The concept consists of a complete review and analysis of a hotel complex, its existing core construction and energy system components. Among other this includes: construction elements, HVAC, electrical installations, fire protection engineering, building automation system, energy modelling, air flow analysis and energy management. In brief, this represents the development of a comprehensive energy efficient renovation concept that considers all energy systems within a hotel and its environment.
The result of this is an expert economic/energetic evaluation of possible and reasonable energy efficiency optimisation steps and measures for providing optimal comfort for hotel guests.
The result: a full-proof documentation ready for implementation of an integral energy system, a system that takes into consideration the ecologic, economic and sociologic perspectives of the sustainable tourism idea. This could also be a key differentiator in the marketing strategy of a hotel and a vision in their long-term development plan.
2 USE LOCAL (!) RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES
When thinking about renewable energy sources, we too often forget the local energy sources that are already present “on site”.
The technologies with the largest potential are utilizing the following sources: underground water, underground heat pipes, surface or sea water, technological water or thermal water. Why are these most promising? Because they are all fuelled by the energy of the sun and are therefore renewable, zero-cost and free to use.
You can efficiently capture this energy and manage its distribution with hybrid energy systems like Menerga Rewatemp, which can provide you with heating or cooling energy or simultaneously with both. This means that you can use the same unit for: heating in the winter and cooling of the building and as a by-product of free heating of sanitary water in the summer.
The benefit of this is that you won’t need to pay for any fossil fuels and you will substantially reduce your buildings’ carbon-footprint! By additionally implementing solar cells to provide you with electricity, we can even design an entirely self-sustainable hotel.
3 AIR-CONDITIONING AND VENTILATION OF HOTEL ROOMS – LUXURY COMFORT AT MINIMUM COST FOR THE OPERATOR
Most of the hotel owners are forgetting that comfortable room temperature is only half of the experience. The other half is ventilation of the hotel rooms with 100% fresh air. The consequence being: a fresh and light feeling every time a guest enters the room and no unpleasant odour in the morning.
This luxury comes with a positive “side effect”: the guests won’t need to open the windows in order to ventilate the room. This means that they will enjoy fresh air for the whole time of the stay. At the same time, the hotel operator won’t lose substantial amounts of energy, because the energy will be recuperated and the cost of (re-)heating will be minimised.
This smart solution is part of a holistic approach to problem solving, but is too often forgotten when renovating a hotel. Refurbishing building insulation is a must, but it is not enough. By additionally implementing a highly efficient recuperative HVAC unit you can reduce the ventilation costs by 90%, while exponentially increasing the comfort.
4 ARE YOU STILL FLUSHING AWAY THE WARM SHOWERING WATER?
There is a “hidden” source of energy in every luxury hotel, which is usually forgotten. That is the warm sanitary water, which usually goes to waste. By flushing away warm water from: showers and baths, waste water from swimming pools, Jacuzzis and filter cleaning … we are at the same time flushing away massive amounts of energy.
With the help of high efficient hybrid heating/cooling unit – not a single heat pump – all this energy can be returned (recycled and reused) to the system for heating fresh sanitary water.
Having a splendid coefficient of performance (COP=11) such unit can lower your cost for hot sanitary water up to 5 times. Besides substantial cost reduction, such system also has a short return on investment period of 1-3 years. This solution is simple to implement into new as well as existing hotels. Keep in mind that you need to separate sanitary water drainage pipes from toilet drainage pipes when renovating an existing hotel!
5 HOW TO REUSE THE ENERGY FROM A KITCHEN TO WARM A BUILDING?
A hotel kitchen represents one of the most energy-wasteful spots within a hotel. Why? Because an enormous amount of heat from the kitchen is transported out of the building in order to ventilate the kitchen. If we would capture all this “free” heat (energy) we would be able to (re)use it to heat the building or sanitary water! With an “all-in-one” kitchen solution integrated into the building energy system, we can do precisely this. The result: a fully ventilated kitchen that is at the same time using the surplus energy to heat the building. This means that no unpleasant smells will spread to other hotel areas and that the working conditions for kitchen staff will be excellent.
The “all-in-one” kitchen solution consists of an efficient ceiling ventilation system with two stages of waste air filtration featuring UVC system for fat decomposition. Ventilation and air-conditioning are manipulated by a highly efficient recuperative unit featuring an indirect cooling system. The ventilated ceiling solution provides a 50% reduction in air-exchange demand, whereas the efficient recuperative unit enables a 50% reduction in cooling energy demand.
By combining both you can save up to 75% on operating cost of kitchen ventilation and air-conditioning. However, by far the greatest leverage point is that you can reuse the wasted energy in order to heat the building. This IS sustainability.
6 INTELLIGENT HOTEL ROOM MANAGEMENT AND REGULATION
Individual energy sub-systems and units can be very efficient by themselves, but when we look at a hotel as a whole, we still don’t have the guarantee for overall optimal energy efficiency. The key component of ultimate energy efficiency is the intelligence of an integral energy system or the digital direct control system combined with a building management system. By applying such systems and implementing relevant thermo-dynamic algorithms we provide for the intelligence, which harmonically regulates individual energy system components according to required indoor and given outdoor conditions.
Quality regulation systems provide optimal comfort and a luxury experience for your guests, while further reducing energy consumption up to 30%. It is crucial that the regulation and building management systems are intuitive and user-friendly. With the help of the VIA BMS iPad app we achieve that the system actually serves the client and not the other way around.
We have asked Anže Čokl, the representative of the investor and the director of Bohinj Eco Hotel and Waterpark Bohinj, about their satisfaction with the project, their ambitions for a green and environmentally friendly construction and their vision of energy savings. His statement:
We have decided to execute the project according to the latest expertise in the field, which helped us achieve substantial savings in energy consumption. The execution of the project according to project documentation, prepared by the company Menerga d.o.o. was what brought us the title of the most energy-efficient building in Slovenia in 2010. The outcome of the documentation implementation has proven the regularity of the projects with minimum discrepancies. [...] We can without any hesitation recommend the Menerga d.o.o. company for the implementation of complex projects.
Want to know more?
If you would like to know more about the green sustainable practices that Bohinj Eco Hotel implemented, you can read about it on their website – subsection about sustainability.