Unit 4: How to reduce energy and water consumption?

Already at the design stage of the hotel/restaurant we must pay attention to what materials are used, how space is arranged, how many and how big windows will be so that the building will be an energy saving structure. New buildings should be designed as passive constructions, which ensure minimum energy consumption.

Materials used in construction should provide as much heat as possible and be environment-friendly. Special attention should be paid to the insulation of roofs, windows and doors. A good idea is a grass roof, which provides excellent insulation. It also makes the building more attractive in aesthetic terms and reduces air pollution.

When constructing or renovating a building we should try to use modern, energy saving technologies, e.g., triple glazed windows, heat recovery ventilation. We need to remember that smaller and lower rooms need less energy for heating and big windows mean we need less electricity for light. Lighting devices should be cleaned regularly as it improves their efficiency.

Making use of renewable energy sources for electricity and heating, e.g., solar and wind energy, hydro energy, biomass, and geothermal resources are a good solution. When buying furniture, eco-design principles should be remembered; we can buy re-cycled furniture and when arranging the rooms we should not cover heaters with furniture or thick curtains. 

Reduction of energy consumption in an existing building should start with a monitoring exercise to identify how much energy is used, what seasonal differences are expected and a critical assessment of methods how the consumption could be reduced.

Next steps involve:

  • Drafting a timetable for ventilation devices, which should be used according to the demand;
  • Installing pump and temperature controllers in rooms;
  • Installing water temperature controllers;
  • Switching unused devices into the stand-by mode;
  • Using of air-conditioning only when absolutely necessary
  • Replacing filters regularly.

Examples of solutions that reduce energy consumption include:

  • Regular checks of equipment (checking if they operate properly, if they are not outdated and consume more electricity than they should);
  • Gradual replacement of inefficient, old equipment with new ones, energy saving, replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones;
  • Installing motion sensor activated lighting in corridors;
  • Hotel rooms designed in such a way that when magnetic key card is removed light and all electric devices automatically go off;
  • Special electricity-producing equipment in hotel fitness room (e.g. a stationary bike), electricity produced in this way may be used to charge a mobile, a laptop or to turn on a TV-set;
  • Getting involved into the worldwide movement „Earth Hour” within which all energy-consuming devices, which can be turned off, are replaced with, e.g., candles.

To reduce water consumption we should also start with a monitoring exercise. It will help identify defective, leaky devices and ways of saving water. All leakages in water installation must be immediately removed.

  • Special washbasin taps can be installed with hot and cold-water mixers, which automatic shut off and special aerators mixing air with water.
  • Another good idea is to install controllers of toilet flush capacity in toilets and water-filtering devices that recycle shower discharge water for re-use in flushing toilets.
  • Site manager taking care of saving water should see to it that there are showers instead of baths in the bathrooms and a dishwasher in the kitchen.
  • In hotels it is worth introducing towel and linen reuse schemes where towels and bed linen are replaced on guest’s demand, not every day. Sites with gardens or green areas around should collect and use rainwater for plant watering.

The website Hotel Energy Solutions (www.hotelenergysolutions.net) facilitates running comparative analyses of energy efficiency, calculating CO2 emissions from the site and learning how to use renewable energy sources and innovative technologies. The website also allows making cost and benefit analyses for such solutions.