A workshop on "Energy Efficiency in the Hotel Industry" took place in Munich last Thursday. The participants from universities, the hotel sector, energy agencies and manufacturers as well as operators of building systems were looking to discuss their experiences in research and development, demonstration projects and practice. The focus was on an EnOB model project, the Hotel am Viktualienmarkt in Munich, as well as the "Check-In Energy Efficiency" project conducted by the German Energy Agency.
The EnOB model project, entitled "Renovation to a sustainable hotel with a decentralised technology concept", ended in 2016 and with it the scientific evaluation of the energy concept and building operation. This enabled important results to be presented in the workshop. The special technology concept, with 47 small heat pumps, installed decentrally in the rooms, generally performed well. However, some critical points have also been identified that need to be optimised so that the innovative concept can be used on a larger scale. In particular, too much auxiliary energy is needed. It is required for distributing heat at a low temperature level. In addition, the surface heating and cooling systems, which in energy efficiency terms are generally advantageous, proved to be problematic in terms of their use in the hotel. Their thermal inertia did not conform with the expectations of the guests, who consider a quick response to their room comfort wishes to be self-evident. These and other findings will be incorporated into the further development of the system.
More details about the building and energy concept for the hotel ...
The accompanying research for dena's "Check-In Energy Efficiency" project was presented by the University of Wuppertal. The project, which has been running since 2015, accompanies and supports the more than 30 participating hotels and hostels in evaluating and optimising the energy consumption. The University of Wuppertal is supervising the accompanying monitoring of these buildings. The large number of buildings means that the results will provide an important basis for monitoring and optimising buildings of this type in future. Hotels in Germany continue to show a relatively high energy consumption that is only comparable to other types of buildings such as schools or hospitals.
As part of the workshop, the specificities of and challenges presented by energy efficiency (measures) in hotels were discussed, including how these can be integrated or solved. It is known and proven that the energy costs represent a comparatively high share of the total turnover. On average, these amount to between 5 and 8%, and in some cases even more than 10%. However, there seems to be very little motivation to invest in energy efficiency measures; hotel operators seem to have little affinity with issues relating to technology, energy consumption and savings potential. For example, the topic of energy is not included in the curriculum for hotel management schools. This shows the necessity for concrete incentives and comprehensibly prepared information, such as guidelines with detailed information on the profitability of refurbishments, coherent packages of measures including the respective cost-saving potentials, and information on the increased turnover effects that can be achieved in practice. In addition, the hoteliers need to be approached in person as decision-makers.
A guest presentation about the "Beacon" project from Switzerland showed how such an incentive can be created: a lump energy costs surcharge is refunded to the hotels provided that they successfully participate in an advisory, audit and optimisation programme. Here it was also necessary to approach the hotels in person in order to get them to participate. However, this resulted in a very high participation rate due to the easily gained reimbursement.
Another important issue was concerned with the expectation of the guests with regard to technology and energy efficiency. Since hotels are economically directly dependent on the satisfaction of their users, efficiency measures must take this expectation into account. To this end, it needs to be specifically defined at the beginning of the project. Future research will need to pay particular attention to this.
Even if some stakeholders from practice (technical managers of hotels) had to cancel their attendance at short notice, it has confirmed the importance of such a forum with a small, informal group. Here the open dialogue between research and practice was particularly noteworthy. With the conclusion of EnOB's "Hotel am Viktualienmarkt" model project in Munich, the project's final report will present numerous and important detailed results about the innovative technical concept (shortly available here). The already started scientific support for the dena model project is also being carried out as part of the EnOB research initiative. This intends to help prepare findings from a larger number of hotels and hostels, and to deepen interdisciplinary aspects in a practical manner. In addition to the hotels from the dena model project, other committed hotel operators are also involved who are interested in an in-depth analysis of their consumption data. Interested persons can contact the University of Wuppertal.
The event was organised by Wuppertal and Rosenheim universities.