PLAZA Hotels rely on the smart energy management system better.energy to save energy. Yonca Yalaz, Managing Director of PLAZA Hotelgroup, talks about the use and goals of smart heating control in the hotels in this experience report.
About PLAZA Hotels
Founded in Heilbronn in 2002, the PLAZA Hotelgroup today comprises almost 50 hotels with more than 6,500 rooms in the three- and four-star segment. From the elegant beach hotel on the Baltic Sea to the business house in the business district, the hotels are as diverse and multifaceted as the team of employees. Their enthusiasm for what they do is at the forefront. In addition to flat hierarchies, the PLAZA Hotelgroup is also committed to always having an open ear for new ideas.
The hotel chain proved only recently that innovations have a place in the hotels when it opted for the intelligent energy management system better.energy. We spoke to Managing Director Yonca Yalaz about the use of better.energy in the hotels of the PLAZA Hotelgroup and the goals she is pursuing with the system. Because in addition to energy savings, better.energy has a lot more to offer in the hotel.
Rising energy prices are a challenge for hotels
The hotels of the PLAZA Hotelgroup are also affected by the rising energy costs. To counteract the high energy costs, energy is being saved in the hotels of the PLAZA Hotelgroup. An important component of this is the intelligent energy management system better.energy. One of the first hotels in the chain to be equipped with the intelligent heating control system is the Best Western Hotel am Kastell. Here, among other things, the old thermostats on the radiators were replaced with wireless ones that automatically regulate the temperature in the hotel rooms with the help of better.energy.
Reducing energy consumption with intelligence
The intelligent energy management system better.energy regulates radiators automatically and so efficiently that hotels can reduce their energy consumption by up to 31 percent. With an interface to the hotel’s PMS system, better.energy controls heating based on occupancy. This means the system knows when a guest checks in and the hotel room needs to be heated. As soon as a guest checks out, better.energy automatically lowers the temperature to an efficient level. The intelligent heating control system controls the thermostats based on temperature limits that are individually set by the hotel. This can prevent the guest room from overheating and thus consuming energy unnecessarily, or prevent unoccupied rooms from cooling down too much.
“In addition, we can relieve the staff by the use, since no more manual regulation is necessary and this can be automated,” says Yonca Yalaz, Managing Director of PLAZA Hotelgroup GmbH. Since temperature control is automatic, radiator thermostats no longer need to be checked and turned down when a guest checks out. This means less work for hotel staff. In addition, if a guest or housekeeping forgets to turn down the thermostat when airing out, better.energy detects the open window and automatically lowers the temperature instead of using energy unnecessarily.
LoRaWAN: Ideal for hotels
better.energy uses modern wireless technology LoRaWAN to pass data between the system and the thermostats. With LoRaWAN, hotels benefit from easy installation and maintenance. In addition, no construction measures are required and no cables need to be laid. “As we continued to talk, it became apparent that this emerging technology was a better fit for our company,” Ms. Yalaz said. Unlike other wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth or WLAN, hotel devices can communicate with each other over a distance of up to 500 meters.
In addition, hotels can equip and retrofit as many radiators as they want with the smart thermostats. The system is easily scalable and can be extended to guest rooms, hotel restaurants, meeting rooms and other public areas in the hotel. This makes LoRaWAN in combination with better.energy an ideal solution especially for hotels. In addition, the data, for example the temperature setting, is transmitted so efficiently between the system and the thermostat that the battery life can be extended to up to ten years. This is not only more environmentally friendly, but also reduces the workload on staff.
The key to sustainable success
It’s not just the reduced energy consumption that makes the managing director happy. “As a company, our priority is of course to act more sustainably and, in addition, to contribute to becoming more sustainable as a company through further measures in the near future.” The energy management system not only reduces energy consumption, but also CO2 emissions. In this way, the intelligent system ensures that the hotels’ green footprint is more positive. The fact that no construction work is required and no cables have to be laid also makes better.energy a sustainable alternative. The fact that less waste is generated due to the extended battery life is also a big plus for the hotel and the environment.
Energy savings expected by the end of the year
The energy-saving potential of better.energy at the hotel is promising. In addition to the Best Western Hotel am Kastell, other hotels in the PLAZA Hotelgroup will now be equipped with the intelligent heating control system. “We see it as a good decision to have started or entered into this project and are looking forward to being able to report energy savings at the end of the year.”