Environmental GainsAs a new building, the redeveloped hotel will undergo a BREEAM assessment which is a measure of best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation. A broad range of categories and criteria are covered and include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, and ecology.
Specific measures the new hotel hopes to implement to achieve high levels of sustainability include:
Meeting all heating, cooling and hot water needs renewably via a Q-ton ESA30E Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) which can produce 3,500 litres of 60°C hot water in 8 hrs during the night (o/s temp 5°C) to benefit from off peak electricity rates (⅓ cheaper) @ 3.75 COP. Flat roof mounted Varisol evacuated solar tubes may also be fitted on the flat roof to reduce the ASHP’s load by 20-25% pa - these don't require sunlight and generate heat energy even on overcast and cloudy days. Both ASHP/solar tubes result in zero onsite carbon (CO2) emissions re the building’s heating, cooling and hot water needs
Servicing all occupied areas of the new building with 24 hr fresh air ventilation - the fresh air will be preheated by extracting 80% of the heat from the expelled air, thereby minimising the additional heat (if any) required to raise it to the required temperature
Using Waste Water Heat Recovery (WWHR) to extract 75% of the heat from all discharged shower water to preheat the incoming supply of cold mains water to the shower. This reduces the amount of hot water required for each shower and consequently associated offsite Greenhouse Gas emissions (as less imported electricity is used by the ASHP).
Based on a shower head temperature of 38-42°C, water exiting a shower will run to drain between 31-35°C meaning WWHR can extract a minimum 23°C of heat from the wastewater and preheat the incoming mains water from 10 to 33°C. WWHR may be extended to laundry/dishwashing facilities
Onsite composting for all food waste. High Peak Borough Council offer no recycling for trade waste. Presently we recycle paper/cardboard privately but food waste remains destined for landfill. Once buried, it degrades anaerobically (without oxygen) producing methane (CH4) which is 72 times worse for the atmosphere in the short term than carbon dioxide (CO2). The effect on global warming is huge due to worldwide volumes of food waste sent to landfill (50 kg/day to landfill = 75 tonnes of released CO2)
A Liquid Food Composter (LFC) will be installed, which is an enclosed automatic bio-digester that fully breaks down any raw/cooked food matter within 24 hours. The process uses no chemicals and is totally green. Decomposition in the LFC is a natural aerobic process (in the presence of oxygen) which produces CO2 and water - accelerated by computer controlled optimisation of the aeration, moisture and temperature within the LFC. The output is environmentally safe grey water.
This natural process is carbon neutral as carbon was taken from atmospheric CO2 to produce the food in the first place. 90 kg (200 lb) of food waste per day can be disposed of as such in a unit the size of a 3ft chest freezer. It is hoped to maintain the existing paper recycling and add glass too
Installing a greywater system which reuses the water from showers and sinks for flushing toilets, laundry, dishwashing and any outdoor requirements
Build and Design Features
The build and design features the new hotel intends to use to achieve high levels of sustainability include:
- Sustainable Building Materials which in addition are environmentally friendly too, such as
Fermacell - which has 94% recycled content and is 100% recyclable, unlike standard plasterboard which has nominal recycled content and is non-recyclable
Precast concrete - the cross-wall structural design permits use of precast concrete insulated wall panels which deliver a complete energy-efficient monowall building envelope, including exterior membrane, moisture barrier, insulation and interior finish... and can include pre-fitted windows as well as pre-affixed exterior cladding (which in our case will be the existing dressed stone). Precast slabs will also be used for the floor (subject to design constraints). Environmentally friendly concrete (ecocrete) contains a minimum of 80% recycled content. As well as guaranteed quality control, precast concrete offers reduced on-site activity (speedier construction and elimination of wet trades) and energy efficiency compared to other materials given its high thermal mass, which stabilises internal building temperatures (reducing heating/cooling needs)
Thermal Efficiency - through exemplary levels of insulation (U value 0.1) and air tightness (1 m3/m2/h)
Low Energy lighting usage throughout (eg LED lighting, intelligent building management systems)
Innovative Solutions - the following are four examples
Windcatcher units will directly capture air for servicing the fresh air ventilation requirement. Windcatchers are flat roof based units which channel a controllable quantity of fresh air into a vertical duct regardless of wind direction and without mechanical assistance (passively) and hence provide zero-energy natural ventilation.
Internal fans then force the air downwards through the vertical duct which runs to the lowest floor. At each level the air is drawn into horizontal ducts serving each floor. The outer louvres are static but a second internal set can be raised or lowered to regulate air flow in accordance with the requirements of the Building Management System or fully closed to prevent weather ingress during exceptional conditions.
Are a form of suspended ceiling comprised of a membrane that is literally stretched (at 35°C) and fitted to wall guides below the structural (concrete) ceiling providing a perfect finish whilst eliminating wet trades. Stretch ceilings are fully recyclable, washable, non toxic and anti-static (so do not attract dust). Furthermore they don’t crack or require painting and provide acoustic benefits by absorbing echo and high frequency reverberation. More exciting are the design options which allow 3D effects, all manner of diffused back lighting options and pre printed design
Water Mist Fire Protection
Traditional fire sprinklers risk water damage, which may even occur during false activation, and has the potential to extend well beyond the fire zone, especially if sprinkler activation occurs on upper floors.
Water mist systems all but eliminate the water damage issue and extend fire extinguishing capabilities beyond the immediate area which sprinklers are limited to. Upon activation, a water mist fire protection system discharges a fine spray of small water droplets which reduce the dangerous levels of toxic gas and temperature from the fire, displace oxygen and dilute fuel vapour, resulting in fire suppression or extinguishment. Water mist systems require 5-10% of the water of a sprinkler system and thus minimise consequential water damage and runoff.
More importantly, in enclosed areas, mist systems improve human survivability, increasing time to incapacitation by a factor of 6 and prevent fatal conditions. Environmentally they can be serviced by greywater, eliminate the need for wet or chemical based extinguishers, and in comparison, can be reused ad infinitum without refilling/replacement
Hi-Velocity Draught-Free HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
The biggest complaints made against traditional HVAC systems are draughts, hot and cold spots, uneven room temperatures and the length of time taken to warm a room. These are simply an inevitable side effect of their methodology which generally features a ceiling mounted unit (cassette/cartridge) blowing warm air downwards.
Depending on how cold it is, those underneath may well feel a draught as the warm air loses heat by the time it makes contact with their skin. Even if the air remains warm enough, those not underneath may still feel cold as the warm air doesn’t spread out sideways, but naturally rises above the cold air (stratification), leading to warm nose/cold toes syndrome. Even if the air is sufficient to warm those underneath, the sensation of having warm air blowing on you is not one many people enjoy, plus any such benefit relies on permanent operation of the ceiling unit.
Hi Velocity’s small duct system eliminates all of these by using the laws of physics, de-stratification and a unique air movement pattern to provide superior indoor air quality. The effect is to provide heating that is draught-free, warms the entire room evenly and is massively responsive, so a room can be heated within a minute. The principles and benefits of Hi-Velocity’s system are best appreciated visually - the following clip shows a room warmed within 40 seconds; the first part focuses on the vent expelling warm air whilst the later section shows the effect on the entire room.
Hi-Velocity Airflow Demonstration on YouTube.
Note, that the warm air from the ceiling vent is not being mechanically blown, but is accelerating as a result of being forced through a narrower room duct, resulting in a pressure reduction and increased velocity - this principle is known as the Venturi effect. The importance of the pressure drop is the differential created - the cooler room air is now at a higher pressure and automatically drawn towards the lower pressure warm air entering the room, creating natural circulation - this is Bernoulli’s Theorem in action.
Bernoulli’s Theorem and the Venturi Effect prevent the warm air becoming trapped at ceiling level (de-stratification) and ensure the entire room is heated evenly from floor-ceiling and wall-wall, which is both increases energy efficiency and guest comfort (these air movements are imperceptible and undetectable to human skin). Furthermore, the warm air supplied will be fresh-air (not recycled), which has been preheated by extracting 80% of the heat from the expelled air, thereby requiring only a nominal heat rise before entering the room. Before doing so, it will be HEPS purified to remove allergens, exhaust fumes and airborne disease-causing microscopic particles.
Marketing Benefits of Sustainability
sustainability will become a defining issue for the industry in 2015 and beyond
More than 80% of travellers want their hotels to have environmentally-friendly practices, according to a survey of customers and businesses by TripAdvisor who launched their “Green Leader” programme (which gives hotels and BBs a green rating) in the USA in April 2013.
Since then a new TripAdvisor survey revealed that more than a quarter (26%) of European travellers actively made eco-friendly travel choices in the last 12 months, and a third (33%) plan to do so in the next 12 months. The survey also revealed that nearly one in ten European travellers (9%) say they have chosen to stay at a particular hotel because of their green policies. However, nearly half (44%) say they feel that hotels don’t currently provide enough information about their sustainability practices - which has led to TripAdvisor extending the scheme to Europe in July 2014.
Gaining one of the four levels of accreditation (Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum) gives an opportunity for a hotel to showcase their green practices to millions of people as well as providing an instantly recognisable green ranking.
A number of globally recognised certifications exist, including the UK based Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS), the largest sustainable national grading programme in the world.
Travelocity.com confirms that green hotels get higher reviews and bookings than non-green hotels on their website. The site operates on a smiley face ranking system and almost all of their eco-friendly accommodations get an average of three smiley faces or more, compared to 83 percent of standard hotel listings. Furthermore, the hotels that are officially “green certified” receive the highest reviews and ratings.
Clearly an eco certified hotel is likely to have greater appeal to a significant number of potential bookers, in comparison to a non certified competitor with similar facilities/pricing, especially in Buxton, given the absence of any eco hotels and the unlikelihood of meaningful new development of such eco-properties.
To date going green hasn’t generally resulted in improvements to the guest experience (other than to their conscience) but the new hotel will showcase the extent to which green practices, when allied with features that enhance well-being, result in levels of comfort well beyond the current norm, and achieved sustainably.