DUBAI, UAE 24 September 2019: Raffles Dubai has been awarded the Green Key certification, an international ecolabel for tourism and hospitality facilities, in recognition of the hotel meeting mandatory and voluntary benchmarks towards sustainable operations. Sushant Pawar, Cluster Director of Engineering, Raffles Dubai and Sofitel Dubai Wafi, discussing the HVACR-related initiatives the hotel’s engineering team implemented over the past few years in its effort to enhance energy efficiency and improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ), said the team upgraded the hotel’s GRMS (Guest Room Management System) to ensure automated control over the lights, curtains and air conditioners in unoccupied rooms using motion sensors and controls. “The chiller plant system was also upgraded with a demand flow control system in 2015, and this initiative was able to reduce the HVAC consumption by 20%,” he said.
Other initiatives, Pawar highlighted, have been the replacement of halogen and incandescent lights with LED bulbs and the installation of water aerators and water savers in showers and faucets, leading to 15% savings in water consumption.
Pawar also said the engineering team facilitated ongoing retrofit projects with a demand control system for its air-handling units, fresh air-handling units and kitchen exhaust fans. “This actually optimises speed and reduces energy consumption at the same time,” he explained, adding that Raffles Dubai conducts frequent energy audits to identify potential energy-saving areas. Pawar said that in a bid to cater to an eco-conscious clientele, Raffles Dubai recently installed a universal electric vehicle-charging station in the hotel car park, to underscore its support for technology that produces no emissions and, thus, improves air quality.
Pawar said that even during the design and construction phase, Raffles Dubai already made a conscientious effort to integrate energy-efficiency practices and initiatives towards plumbing, electrical and air conditioning equipment, which he said, are typically built to be utilised to the maximum load capacity, which is beyond what is actually required in real life. “It is important to evaluate the hotel operation and make sure to optimise the equipment systems and gain maximum energy savings at the same time,” he said. “The initial focus is to adjust the operational hours and capacity of the equipment, as per the operational requirements and not let it run on full capacity.”
Although such initiatives require investment in resources and manpower, Pawar said that he believes Raffles Dubai has showcased the commercial payback of spearheading such initiatives, considering that following the implementation of energy-saving practices in 2011, the total energy consumption has reduced by more than 30%, saving the property more than AED 2 million. “I definitely believe that implementing such initiatives does make a case for the ROI of investing in energy-efficient equipment and practices,” he said, “In addition, Raffles Dubai recently signed an energy management contract to reduce the energy consumption with an implementation of major equipment retrofit. This initiative will further reduce the hotel’s energy consumption by AED1.2 million per year.”
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Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at email@example.com