Value Proposition: Sustainable Design
There are a number of sustainable energy practices available to the hospitality sector specific to aquatics that can help achieve LEED-Gold and LEED-Silver ratings. Such design practices include designing pools and spas with variable frequency drives (VFD), employing high efficiency heaters as well as designing flat-plate and evacuated tube solar thermal systems. These systems function not only to augment the high efficiency pool and spa heater but also to provide hot water for the hotel laundry, kitchen, and bathrooms.
Incorporating a simple VFD into the swimming pool design allows the hotel operator to reduce the RPM of the circulation pump along a linear curve of flow reduction while taking advantage of an electricity use reduction along an exponential curve. In layman’s terms, the operator can reduce the RPM’s by half while simultaneously reducing electricity use by 87.5%.
Additionally, using a high-efficiency condensing, or noncondensing, hydronic water heater for the pool and spa achieves an efficiency rating of 98%, which is well above the accepted “high efficiency” standard of 88% in today’s marketplace. Moreover, the client can achieve installation cost reduction because the exhaust flume construction of a hydronic water heater is Sch. 80 PVC as opposed to costly stainless steel power vent applications.
Last, employing photovoltaic (PV) solar panels is common for the creation of electricity for residential and commercial use; however, few architects are aware that a PV solar array produces less than 14% of the energy as a flat plate/evacuated tube solar thermal configuration. The solar thermal energy collection method allows the hotel operator to augment the gas and electric costs associated with heating not only the pool and spa but also the hot water used in hotel kitchens and bathrooms as well as the re-heat required in central HVAC units. With a useful life between 20 and 25 years coupled with a multitude of state and federal tax incentives a hotel/resort owner can realize a 500-800% ROI over a 15-year period. It is clear that increasingly consumers are demanding sustainable practices in the hospitality sector. Moreover, the energy savings, LEED Certification, and marketing cache generated from these design/renovation practices substantially improve the hotel brand’s positioning in the marketplace while achieving long-term, sustainable operating savings.