Legacy benefits for tourism (18/08/10)
The World Cup has brought infrastructural spinoffs to the South African hotel, hospitality and tourism industry, which went to tremendous lengths to meet the needs of World Cup visitors who came here from all corners of the world. It is vital now to harness the expertise that went into developing this industry, and make every effort to keep this momentum going.
Hotels and resorts will certainly be expected to adhere to green principles, a move that is being emphasized the world over.
“It is vital that hotels, resorts and hospitality concerns are in line with the global emphasis on green issues, which will enable them to manage and reduce their energy consumption,” says Bradley Hemphill, Managing Director of EES, a leader in project managing the provision of Information Technology (IT) solutions to the built environment.
With this objective in mind, Government and industry associations have introduced and are implementing new measures and initiatives to enhance standards.
New standard for energy efficiency compliance
Infrastructures will soon need to comply with SANS 204, the South African standard for energy efficiency in buildings. Compliance with the requirements must be done through a rational design prepared by a person with a tertiary qualification in mechanical and electrical engineering, and who is registered in terms of the relevant national legislation.
SANS 204-2 is the standard for the energy efficiency requirements for buildings in which air is controlled by natural means. SANS 204-3 is the standard for buildings in which movement of air is controlled via artificial means, such as artificial ventilation or air conditioning.
To comply with SANS 204 the building ‘envelope’ must be designed in a manner that utilises thermal loads and mass for effective heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems’ energy consumption, as well as has correct plant and systems size and lighting requirements. Consideration should be given to life-cycle costs of the building, and operational and occupancy time, especially for building sections that require occupation at other than normal working hours.
The building owner will need a certificate of compliance verifying that appropriate design details and building techniques have been used, and that the work has been carried out in compliance with the provisions of SANS 204.
For artificially ventilated or air-conditioned buildings, the energy rating of the building must be displayed. This applies to all new buildings, buildings that require plan approval, or buildings that have had change of ownership. Owners must report annually on energy usage.
Intelligent automation is integral to achieving energy efficiency and compliance with SANS 204.
“It is the hotels and hospitality businesses which understand and implement intelligent automation, making them intelligent infrastructures, which will be the leaders in energy efficiency, sustainable practices and cost reductions.”
In order to optimize energy efficiency, energy use needs to be analyzed and reliable data is needed for this analysis. “To obtain reliable data it is necessary for a good quality meter to be installed on the hotel’s incoming load and at least some of its core distribution loads. Analysis is then done, the outcome of which is intelligent automation, which links all the energy source systems together to reduce energy consumption.”
Energy needed for the day-to-day running and services of a hotel or hospitality concern, such as air conditioning, hot water, room lighting, television and video etc, is mostly derived from cooling systems, boilers and directly from electricity distribution.
Hemphill explains that when it comes to cooling, the key card contactor is not necessarily the answer. Alternative, more sophisticated intelligent automation solutions which really remove the human factor, reduce energy consumption and help hotels to go green, are now available and should be considered.
Boilers too can be effectively automated by means of a backend occupancy data base, which ensures that the number of boilers that are switched on is always in line with the number of guests staying at the hotel.
With regard to lighting, energy reduction in common areas should be addressed first, and automated so that lights come on only when there are people in the particular common area. Back of house is another opportunity for energy efficiency.
To address energy efficiency in multimedia systems, technology, such as High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), should be used. This allows the operator to switch devices on and off either remotely or manually. It also enables remote control of multiple devices making it easy to switch off all devices with one button.
Hemphill however raises the concern that there are currently still some obstacles to achieving intelligent automation in the hotel and hospitality industry.
“Not all stakeholders are being engaged, resulting in a silo approach, in which the major players are not talking to each other and often have conflicting business drivers. The result is a difficult and sometimes impossible task of achieving meaningful integration.” Hemphill stresses that experts should co-operate and make use of their own particular strengths to deliver a complete solution.
Another obstacle, for example, is that Building Automation Systems (BAS) and IT do not always understand each other. They have a different approach to issues and the industries need to work together and encourage ongoing communication between the stakeholders.
Hemphill reiterates that hotels and hospitality businesses which see the benefits of modern technology and put it into practice, will be those that will be in line not only with South African energy efficiency standards, but also with international green principles. “It will be those businesses that have implemented intelligent automation as an enabler to their green obligations, which will be in line with players throughout the hotel and hospitality industries the world over.”