System Upgrades Power Up Energy Savings for Hotels

by | Nov 4, 2009

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AloftHotelsolarFor hotels, going green translates into energy-saving projects with some very tangible results. These include the Hilton New York’s energy fuel cell installation that is nearly three times as efficient as the electric grid, system upgrades at Denver’s historic Oxford Hotel that nearly cut the hotel’s monthly utility bills in half, and the solar panel system at the Dubai Aloft Hotel that will save about 870 megawatt hours of electricity annually. They also garnered several environmental awards for their improvements.

In recognition of its environmentally-friendly energy fuel cell, which sits atop the building’s fifth floor roof, the Hilton New York has been awarded the 2008-2009 Environmental Recognition Program “Green Street” Award by the Avenue of the Americas Association, reports Green Lodging News.

Hilton New York received the award in the Energy Efficiency/Sustainability Projects category for Buildings Over 1,000 Square Feet in recognition of its energy fuel cell, which reduces the hotel’s overall carbon footprint in the community.

Representing a huge undertaking in the hospitality industry, the PureCell system provides electric power and hot water throughout the hotel’s 2,000 rooms, 24×7 without combustion. The system is nearly three times more energy efficient than the electric grid when used in combined heat and power applications. Since the fuel cell’s installation in October 2007, it has produced approximately 1.75M kilowatts of electricity per year for the hotel for a total of nearly 3.5M kilowatt hours to date. That equates to approximately 6 percent of the hotel’s consumption.

At the historic 80-room The Oxford Hotel, first opened in 1891, improvements were needed to replace aging equipment and to maintain temperature and humidity, specifically to preserve the hotel’s extensive collection of 19th and 20th century paintings of the American West.

The Denver hotel recently completed upgrades on the building that improve energy efficiency while decreasing average monthly utility costs by 47 percent. Sage Hospitality Resources, which owns and operates The Oxford Hotel, also received a $34,000 rebate from Xcel Energy.

In order to help stimulate the state’s economy, owners of The Oxford Hotel collaborated with a local manufacturer in Colorado. Trane was selected to implement the new systems, which included energy conservation measures, improvements to indoor air quality, and systems to maintain consistent temperature and humidity.

The new systems included two highly efficient chillers and a building automation system to optimize operation of the overall heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

The two chilled water systems were included to ensure uninterrupted service, and each includes dual compressors for added flexibility and system redundancy, according to the hotel. During high demand, the backup chiller and secondary compressors run as needed. To boost efficiency, a plate-and-frame heat exchanger was installed in the chilled water system to provide free cooling during winter months without the need to operate the new electric chillers.

The Oxford Hotel will receive the “Trane Energy Efficiency Leader in Lodging Award” in recognition of these upgrades.

U.S. hotels aren’t the only ones working on energy-saving projects. A  solar panel installation at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company’s (ADNEC) Aloft Hotel will supply more than 90 percent of the hot water at the 408-bedroom hotel. Aloft Hotel is the first hotel in Abu Dhabi to use solar energy to heat its water supply, according to ADNEC.

A total of 560 solar panels, covering a total area of 2,300 square meters has been installed on the roof of ADNEC Car Park A to heat water for the hotel’s 408 bedrooms, 2 production kitchens, food and beverage outlets, hotel offices and the swimming pool, saving an estimated 870 megawatt hours of electricity annually.

ADNEC said the project is inline with the Abu Dhabi government’s 2030 vision for sustainable economic development.

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