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Are you energy smart?

Controlling the energy cost is an important focus area for hotel companies. Smart design and technology can ensure energy efficiency and conservation in hotels, and significantly improve the bottomline By Sudipta Dev

Power consumption is one of the biggest cost centres for a hotel. The design aspects and technology implementations can go a long way in ensuring energy savings while at the same time not compromise with the aesthetic ambience or guest comfort. Hotel companies that have adopted a green strategy, believe in the fact that thinking green is thinking smart, and in the long run this is the only way forward. While green hotels have their own benchmarks to accomplish and maintain, in other properties these initiatives range from common efforts like installation of LED lights to occupancy sensors in public area washrooms to training their staff on energy saving measures.

‘We have 6 mw of power generated from wind energy.’
Philippe Charraudeau
VP(W) & GM – ITC Maratha

ITC Maratha in Mumbai that had received the LEED Platinum in Existing Building category in 2011 uses 80 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. Energy consumption at the property is monitored on a daily basis through sub metering system. “We have 6 MW of power generated from wind energy,” says Philippe Charraudeau, VP(W) & GM – ITC Maratha. He informs that in the property each guest room is fed with 10 per cent to 30 per cent of treated fresh air and entire lighting circuit is on a key card. This apart, all exterior lighting circuits are on timer control while the HVAC system is VFD driven and integrated with BMS system.

‘ibis Navi Mumbai has an improved energy performance of 31.2 per cent.’
Darashbir Singh
GM – Engineering Services, Accor Hotels India

From luxury properties to smart business hotels – focused initiatives are making a difference. InterGlobe Hotels, a JV between InterGlobe Enterprises and Accor has approached the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and registered one of its properties, ibis Navi Mumbai, as a pilot project for certification under IGBC Green Existing Building O&M. “InterGlobe Hotels has developed and built this property – right from the concept design stage – with integration of architecture, engineering and facility planning to optimally select the system design equipments that can translate into enhanced energy performance, water-efficiency, greater health and comfort, efficient facility management during operations,” states Darashbir Singh, general manager – Engineering Services at Accor Hotels India. He points out that ibis Navi Mumbai is the first hotel in India to be awarded ‘GOLD’ under such rating system and has scored full in the Innovation Category by securing all twelve possible points.

“According to a prescribed report published by USAID ECO-III and BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency), the baseline energy consumption for a three-star hotel is 271 KWH/m2/year, benchmarked as Energy Performance Index (EPI). ibis Navi Mumbai has an improved energy performance of 31.2 per cent over the baseline energy consumption and has exceeded the threshold performance,” informs Singh.

‘Marriott Hotels has identified signature energy saving projects.’
PRP Ramakrishnan
Area Director of Engineering – India, Maldives, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Marriott International

As a global initiative Marriott Hotels has identified signature energy saving projects to reduce energy consumption by 20 per cent by 2020. “The projects include – voltage optimisation, hot water generation by heat pumps, plant room optimisation, boilers upgrade, lighting retrofits using LED, wind energy usage with lower carbon foot prints, solar energy lighting, chillers upgrade,” mentions PRP Ramakrishnan, area director of Engineering – India, Maldive, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Marriott International. The company that has many upcoming projects in India has developed must do design aspects for new hotels and it also includes many of the signature energy saving projects.

Iibis Navi Mumbai

Sustainable design

‘Team member education is the biggest energy saver.’
Vishal Kamat
CEO, Kamat Hotels India

Sustainable hotel design is now considered a necessity than an option. As Asia’s first five-star Ecotel, The Orchid Hotel in Mumbai has already incorporated many key design features allowing lower consumption of electricity as compared to conventional hotels. Vishal Kamat, CEO, Kamat Hotels India says, “Atrium lighting without over exposure to the sun so as to capture the light but not its direct heat is a key design feature in our hotel from day one. Also, as much as possible natural lighting in the corridors was designed from before. The New Wing at the Orchid has a lush garden in the centre again taken care of by the Sky Light Roof giving the guest an inviting ambiance in the day and evening garden experience at night.” He feels that the running fountain and the constant sound of water has a soothing impact on most guests.

‘During the construction of the resort we followed the natural building concept.’
Andreas Mueller
GM, The Cove Rotana Resort- Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

The Rotana Group that serves 11 million guests annually and has an ambitious expansion strategy in place to operate 100 hotels by 2020, recently launched its global corporate sustainability platform- Rotana Earth. Andreas Mueller, GM, The Cove Rotana Resort- Ras Al Khaimah, UAE says, “Since the very beginning, right from the construction phase onwards, the resources at our property have been used as efficiently as possible. During the construction of the resort we followed the natural building concept, wherein building materials such as stones were sourced locally from RAK – thereby saving fuel and energy consumption significantly.” He points out that the landscaping maximises the use of renewable energy – trees provide shade in summer but allow sunlight into the rooms and villas directly during winter. Also, the bricks used in construction of the property are energy efficient as they are very solid, keep out the heat in summer and provide solid isolation in winter as they protect from the cold. “This significantly reduces the use of electricity for air conditioners and heating, and for artificial light. Palm trees planted across the resort create a natural green oasis in the desert. Even the construction of the lagoons at the resort has followed the natural water ways to protect wildlife,” adds Mueller.

‘We believe small efforts make a big difference.’
Diwakar Tiwari
Dy Chief Engineer, Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini

The entire hotel building of Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini has been designed in a way where more than 10 per cent of the built-up area has glass to allow natural light. “The double glazed windows in the rooms help in reducing the heat load for FCU,” says Diwakar Tiwari, deputy chief engineer, Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini. IHG’s online environmental sustainability tool, IHG Green Engage, provides ‘green solutions’ for both new and existing hotels in four different climatic regions. These recommendations cover design, operations and technologies aimed at reducing energy, water and waste, cutting carbon emissions, reducing operating and maintenance costs, and raising guest and staff awareness of sustainability issues. “Some of the initiatives that we at Crowne Plaza New Delhi Rohini have undertaken have been initiated or modified to meet the local compliance,” states Tiwari.

The Cove Rotana Resort

Tech power

‘We have installed energy meters for area wise electrical panels.’
Punish Sharma
Area General Manager, Meluha The Fern & Rodas – An Ecotel Hotel

Among the technology implementations that are most effective in reducing energy consumption Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) type of air-conditioning can lead to substantial savings. “VFD technology based on variable-frequency and variable-voltage can significantly reduce energy in high capacity pumps/motors,” adds Singh.

At Meluha The Fern and Rodas – An Ecotel Hotel in Mumbai, there is no usage of geysers. Punish Sharma, area general manager, Meluha The Fern & Rodas – An Ecotel Hotel explains that the hot water at 50 degrees centigrade comes as a by product of the air conditioning plant, and the hot water generator acts as a back- up during winters. “Master Control Panel in the guest rooms incorporates a unique feature known as the green button. On pressing the green button the thermostat of the air-conditioning unit is stepped up by two degrees thus saving in electricity,” says Sharma. He points out that windows comprise a hermetically sealed double glazed unit. This blocks the heat of the sun from entering the room and helps in conserving the A/C energy.

‘Building Management System is most commonly used technology.’
Neeraj Kaushik
Regional Chief Engineer, The Claridges Hotels & Resorts

To minimise power consumption, The Claridges, New Delhi has replaced the 20-year-old chiller plant with new energy efficient chiller. “We have also converted the only primary pumping system into primary secondary system. All existing oil-fire boilers have also been converted into PNG fired which is not only eco-friendly but also saves energy. The installation of puff panels on the rooftops of staff lockers, DG rooms, boiler rooms has contributed in reduction of heat levels in these areas,” says Neeraj Kaushik, regional chief engineer, The Claridges Hotels & Resorts.

Building Management System is most commonly used technology to control services such as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. “It ensures that they operate at maximum levels of efficiency and economy. This is achieved by maintaining the optimum balance between environmental conditions, energy usage and operating requirements,” adds Kaushik.

‘We have key card controls and dimmers lighting controls in guest rooms.’
Federico Mantoani
GM, Hyatt Regency Gurgaon

The key energy saving initiatives at Hyatt Regency Gurgaon range from roof insulation to better thermal properties of glass. The property has solar water heater of 2000 liters per day capacity. According to Federico Mantoani, GM, Hyatt Regency Gurgaon motion sensors have also been installed at the basement and administrative office building for lighting. Talking about initiatives in guest rooms, Mantoani mentions, “We have key card controls and dimmers lighting controls in guest rooms. There is optimum LPD design by using efficient LED in all areas. This apart, the guest rooms also gets effective treated fresh air units.”

Effective monitoring

Stringent monitoring of energy consumption is a necessity and most hotel companies have their individual timelines for this. “Specific area wise meters are effective. This shows consumption patterns and usage loads, which helps the engineering monitor on a day to day basis,” says Kamat. He points out that it is important to install new and innovative devices such as those which monitor the AC plant and have auto cut-off when the desired temperatures are reached so that the load on the chillers is reduced and consumption comes down.

At Meluha The Fern and Rodas – An Ecotel Hotel energy consumption are monitored through the energy meters. “We have installed the energy meters for area wise electrical panels. Tracking and monitoring is in continuous process to take corrective actions,” states Sharma. While energy consumption is monitored at The Cove Rotana Resort, by regularly analysing collected data and following up on any abnormal readings.”We implement action plans to continually improve our levels of energy consumption and ensure all equipments such as boilers are operating at an optimum level to minimise resource consumption,” says Mueller.

Marriott uses online monitoring of all hotels with specific web based programme. “It also provides bench marking among all the hotels. This helps hotels to constantly check on their energy consumption and aim to improve the performance,” adds Ramakrishnan.

Energy savers

  • Air condition plant: energy efficient chillers
  • Thermal energy storage system: STL tank acts as chilled water storage tank for air conditioning back up and peak load management to reduce the maximum demand of the power
  • LED lights for all areas
  • Electronic dimmer for lighting control in banquets and restaurant
  • Occupancy sensors used in public area wash rooms
  • VFD for pumps

Source: Meluha – The Fern

The contribution of each staff member is important for creating awareness of energy conservation. “We believe small efforts make a big difference and for this we have initiated reading out the daily energy consumption to the entire staff in morning briefings, show informational videos in staff cafeteria, display informational posters in each department’s notice board, awareness stickers on switch boards, etc. Also looking at the economical angle, all high energy consuming equipment are operated in the off peak hours to avail the benefit of 15 per cent discount on total energy consumption,” says Tiwari.

Educating the staff in energy conservation should be a focused unrelenting effort. Kamat believes that team member education is the biggest energy saver.

“A right blend of technology and staff initiatives will help reduce wastage and bring down the electric bill in a big way. Empower you team to make decisions and then show them you mean it by backing them. This will only motivate them to come back with bigger and better ideas. And since its their ideas to reduce waste consumption they make sure that their colleagues too follow and are all committed to the cause,” asserts Kamat.

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