The necessities of a hotel as well as those of B&Bs, SPAs and wellness centres can be fulfilled by an automation and control system such as the Ekinex one, developed according to the international KNX standard.
Whether it's for tourism or business travel, the guests of an accommodation facility must be offered a quality experience and it is essential to ensure maximum comfort in all conditions: temperature, humidity and air quality must always be pleasant without forgetting the safety and control of the lighting. The operator must then be able to monitor the consumption of the building and have complete supervision of all areas.
Hotels are one of the main sectors of the European economy, both in terms of employment and in terms of their direct contribution to gross domestic product. Between 2013 and 2016, the hotel sector grew from 10.3 to 11.9 million employees, creating 1.6 million new jobs, while the number of companies grew from 1.8 to almost 2 million.
In the same period, turnover also increased by 20%, from 507 to 605 billion euros. In 2017 Europe was confirmed as the largest tourist destination with 672 million international arrivals in 2017, ahead of the Asia-Pacific area (323) and the Americas (211). Together with tourism, the hospitality sector is the third most important socio-economic activity in the EU.
In this sector, Italy is among the most important European countries: it ranks first in terms of number of hotel rooms (more than a million with 2.3 million beds) and third in terms of number of nights spent in hotels (more than 262 million). Italy is also the European country with the greatest capacity to attract tourists from non-EU countries, with 33.6 million overnight stays in hotels. The impact on employment is very important: the average number of workers employed in Italian accommodation companies is about 176.000, but in August it reaches 250.000 employees due to the effect of the strong seasonality.
Hotels are among the top five types of buildings in the energy services sector. A typical hotel consumes about 320 kWh/m² per year and releases between 160-200 kg of CO2 per square meter of room area. In hotels, the highest energy consumption (about half of the total) is the climatisation, which usually includes heating, cooling, ventilation, renewal and dehumidification functions. As can be expected, the external climatic conditions and the characteristics of the building envelope are the main factors determining the amount of energy needed for air conditioning.
But also the internal temperature levels are decisive for energy consumption. Full control of thermostats and terminal units by guests often leads to unnecessarily high temperatures in winter and low temperatures in summer. Windows and doors of the rooms could remain open, while the air conditioning system is operating at full power. Moreover, in many rooms guests are absent during the day (even for 60-65% of the time), while the systems are left in operation. It can happen that the energy for the climatisation of a room is consumed 24 hours a day or even in the absence of a guest reservation.
And here the potential for energy savings is considerable, especially considering that in these buildings much of the energy consumption is due to losses and waste.
But energy savings can never sacrifice guest comfort. For this reason, the use of building automation is essential, both for new structures and for renovations.
The concept of ”sustainability” was first formulated in the report ”Our common future” published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development. It is known by many as the ”Brundtland Report”, by Gro-Harlem Brundtland, Norwegian, the then President of the Commission.
In this report, sustainability means ”...to ensure that development meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Already in the mid-1980s it was observed that the world was facing a global challenge which it could only respond to through a new model of development, defined as ”sustainable”. The report also made explicit reference to the tourism sector: ”Tourism activities are sustainable when, they are developed in such a way as to remain active in a tourist area for an unlimited period of time, without altering the environment (natural, social and artistic) and without hindering or inhibiting the development of other social and economic activities”.
Unlike most commercial buildings, hotels consume resources seven days a week and 24 hours a day and therefore have great potential for efficiency increase. Today, an increasing number of entrepreneurs in the hotel sector are requesting a sustainability certification for their facilities on their own initiative, also because there is a growing awareness of these issues on the part of guests-customers and tour operators.
The contribution of building automation and sustainability's certification
The concept of nZEB or ”near-zero energy buildings” was introduced by the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (2010/31/EU). This term refers to a building with very high energy performance, in which the energy requirement is very low or almost zero and should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources, including that produced locally or nearby.
From 2013 to 2016 the European Commission co-financed the neZEH (nearly Zero Energy Hotel) project with the aim of demonstrating the advantages of converting existing hotel into almost-zero energy buildings and accelerating the rate of their renovation. The project covered small to medium sized hotels, which account for 90% of hospitality facilities in Europe. Pilot projects confirmed the feasibility of these investments, providing technical advice to hoteliers, undertaking training activities and promoting communication campaigns to raise awareness of the benefits of nZEB buildings and convince European hoteliers to invest in energy efficiency projects.
16 hotels located in 7 European countries (Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Romania, Spain and Sweden) have been renovated to become nZEB buildings:
Ekinex is the ideal solution for KNXs' standard building automation applications in the hotel industry. Wall mounted products, such as push buttons, thermostats and derivation points, have an exclusive design and offer a wide choice of colours and materials that allow you to always find the best match with the colour choices made in the design of interiors. The fine aesthetics do not sacrifice functionality, which has been enriched with many technical possibilities to ensure high comfort and maximum energy efficiency in all conditions.
The intensity, direction and the distribution of the lighting should always be excellent; shading with curtains, blinds or shutters should be adjustable according to personal taste. Access to rooms and other areas must be easy and at the same time some functions must be activated, such as courtesy lights, air conditioning and air renewal and enabled services such as TV or the audio system. Each room function should be easy to understand and extremely simple for guests to use.
The Ekinex access control system is based on transponder technology, exploiting all its flexibility and security. The devices are fully compatible with the KNX system and can be combined with the FF and 71 series of Ekinex KNX wall-mounted devices. The ekinex access control system combines comfort and energy saving in the best possible way; it is particularly suitable for hotel buildings, where it allows flexible and advanced systems to be created, optimising the services for guests.
The Ekinex EK-TR2-TP card reader is used to access the room. The device is installed outside the room or other hotel rooms that need to be reserved for access. Each card is equipped with an electronic circuit and, once it is close to the reader, it transmits the unique access code. Entry is permitted or denied depending on the authorisation available.
The Ekinex EK-TH2-TP card pocket is used for presence detection. The device is installed inside the room; the card is inserted by the guest in the special slot. With this very simple gesture, the guest will active all the systems included in the room (typically the lighting, the air conditioning or the socket for the television). At the same time, the presence is notified to the supervision software EK-TSW installed on the PC of the reception. Information on the status of the room (such as the need to rearrange, to replenish the bar, the need for maintenance or the inability to use the room) is instead notified to the reception by the hotel staff, thanks to use of dedicated cards (master-card).
The programming of the cards and the configuration of the devices can be performed from the reception or from another location where the programmer module is installed, connected to a PC with the programming and supervision software EK-TSW installed.
Devices and ordering codes
Card reader: EK-TR2-TP
Card holder pocket: EK-TH2-TP
Programming and supervision software: EK-TSW
Set of 10 non-customized transponder cards: EK-TCE-10
Set of 10 customizable transponder cards: EK-TCC-10
The Ekinex EK-HO1-TP Hotel Module allows the complete management of hotel room functions by means of a single KNX device. In order to meet the requirements of minimising the space required for devices installed in electrical cabinets, numerous control and functions, usually performed by several products, have been concentrated in a single, extremely compact device (8 modular units, 144 mm wide):
The device offers numerous possibilities of operation in combination with Ekinex KNX or traditional (not bus) devices. Climate control can be persued with Ekinex thermostats and multi-sensors, with Ekinex buttons equipped with temperature probe and thermostat function, with Ekinex interfaces equipped with inputs for NTC probes and thermostat function. Alternatively, it is possible to configure a hotel module input for the connection of an NTC probe and use the climate controller integrated in the device. This gives the system designer maximum flexibility to choose the technical solution that best suits the individual hotel and guest type.
The FF and 71 series of Ekinex push-button can be printed with the symbols of the assigned function on the buttons: a detail strongly recommended for hotel buildings that guarantees guests an immediate understanding of the commands available. In addition, plates and frames can be customised with the name and/or logo of the hotel, a refined detail that enhances the care taken by the interior designer. Similarly, the transponder cards of the access control system can also be customised at the request of the client.
Guests are not the only ones to benefit from the presence of a home automation system in hotels. Building automation with Ekinex allows the reception to check the correct operating of the several systems (such as thermoregulation, lighting or shading control), to monitor energy consumption and to be promptly informed of faults or anomalies, so as to ensure total continuity of operation.
Last but not least, intelligent building management offers considerable energy savings and, in general, resource savings. The benefits are not limited to improving the economic balance, but make the building much more environmentally sustainable.
Spongano (LE), Italy
Quarna Sopra (VB) - Italy
Pella - Lago d'Orta
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