Energy management A Background Talk About Sustainable Creative Joy And The Interesting Question:
“How Do I Benefit?”

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From February to March the intelligent room control iQ Roomcontrol was put to the test at the Steigenberger Hotel Thüringer Hof in Eisenach. Radiators in rooms of various categories were equipped with radio thermostats for this purpose. The intelligent room control automatically regulates the temperature in the hotel room, taking occupancy and current weather data into account. Energy consumption has been reduced by a double-digit percentage.


Test pilot at the Steigenberger Hotel Thüringer Hof Eisenach
• Test period February to March 2019
• In 28 rooms of different categories out of 126 hotel rooms
• 26% energy savings

Hotel manager Dr. Hans-Joachim Hook:
• Sustainability officer of the Steigenberger Hotel and member of the electromobility working group of the city of Eisenach
• 35 years in the hotel industry
• Economist

After the completion of a two-month series of measurements, we asked Dr. Hans-Joachim Hook, Hotel Manager of the Steigenberger Hotel Thüringer Hof in Eisenach, about his motives and the result. Surrounded by the Wilhelminian style atmosphere in the foyer of the modernized 126-room hotel, he presented the headline in a sovereign manner:

“Because I think that sustainability is nothing more than a structure of thinking!”

Hotel Manager Dr. Hans-Joachim Hook
Dr. Hans-Joachim Hook, a determined creator

Dr. Hook:
Every businessman should consider, how he can tribute to changing this thinking structure. In the hotel industry, we have guests who may be much more advanced, who bring this new attitude with them and who may also have an eye for it: “Is what I have defined as my goal at home also implemented in companies or in the hotel industry? Many guests come to the hotels one day and say to themselves: “If this is not implemented and fulfilled, then I don’t live there anymore.“ (see Kano model, author’s note1)

Thought about it the other way around: the booking platforms can put the booking criterion “sustainable hotel” in the foreground. Then you have the right target group and the right hotels together. If someone comes to the hotel today, then they do the marketing! It’s not us who do the marketing, it’s the one who comes through the door! He is connected with the whole world. You have to give him stories so that he can tell them on.

So should sustainability be declared an added value?

Dr. Hook:
Yes, that’s why it was so important for us to clearly tell the guest that we are doing a series of measurements. We explained to them that, despite all the automation of the processes, it’s still up to them to decide whether they want to take part or not. Is this an issue for me or not? We are at the point where you have to keep telling the guest “we stand for sustainability and you can see that here and there in the hotel”. When I saw what Betterspace had to offer, I suggested the Thüringer Hof as a pilot project for the hotel group. And when the energy consultant agreed, we just did it.

So as one of the many personal signals that you send out to your guests in many elements, from furnishings to service handwriting?

Dr. Hook:
Yeah, that’s exactly it!

Lobby of the Hotel Thüringer Hof Eisenach
The city hotel has history and stories to tell

Have you decided in favour of smart control solely because of the savings potential?

Dr. Hook:
We are a pilot project for all houses of the group. It’s not just a matter of savings alone, it’s also a question of whether it adds complexity to the PMS. With this pilot project we also learned how to think and what to think about. That’s why we’ve been working with an energy consultant for many years. But it’s not just a matter of saving. Our aim is to offer ambitious companies like Betterspace a testing ground. I see the responsibility of our entire industry.

Thank you very much for this! To whom do you recommend a digitization strategy?

Dr. Hook:
For someone who says I’m retrofitting because… it’s a lot harder than in a new building. They have to consider in which areas they want to have digitization in the house and to what extent. We expect impulses to come from a holding company like Vienna, to which we are now moving. There will be a lot of development over the next five years.

How difficult was it for the in-house technicians to install the system?

Mr. Michael Hergarten, In-House Technicians:
Not at all. It’s all wireless and already set. You don’t even need to lay cables.

And how did the housekeeping handle it?

Dr. Hook:
It’s very exciting what information the system gives you. When I call the housekeepers from my office and say “Attention! Room 210 has cooled down to four degrees, is there still a window open?” Then the surprise is huge, and they ask from where I can see this. Also the individual control via PMS according to guest preferences or according to the likes of different nationalities, with which the favorite temperature is then set at occupancy, opens the playful area the whole thing. Because an American booking can also announce a European who loves it cooler, without you recognizing it immediately. There are some functions that are very helpful for the management.

So what’s your résumé?

Dr. Hook:
We had 70% occupancy in the rooms of the measuring series in the old building. And this shows “Where did you get the most effect? From a occupied room or from an unoccupied room?” The lever in the unoccupied rooms is the much larger one, which we kept at a constant 17 degrees. Everyone has to evaluate this for himself. If you have a house with seasonal fluctuations or 60% occupancy at times, the bottom line is that much more will come out.

In-House Technician of the Steigenberger Hotel Thüringer Hof Michael Hergarten
For Michael Hergarten, the head of building technology, the pragmatic advantages are obvious
Thermostat tag at the Steigenberger Hotel
Small notes receive approval: on-site communication directly at the smart thermostat

1. See also Kano model: A model that describes what happens when the basic requirements expected by the target group can’t be met.