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Prize-winning beacon project: energy-efficient ventilation for Hotel Schweizerhof

Hotel Schweizerhof in Lenzerheide has played a significant role in shaping tourism in the region – and was recently honoured as a beacon of energy efficiency. The story of a modern Alpiq InTec ventilation solution and an innovative hotel pioneer – and how they both made it to the national TV news.

Hotel Schweizerhof in Lenzerheide first opened its doors 111 years ago, thus heralding a new era for tourism. Since then, the hotel, which now boasts 190 beds, has been repeatedly extended and modernised – most recently last year, when the ventilation system in a part of the building in use since 1981 was in need of state-of-the-art renovation.

Automatic ventilation control via air-quality sensors

The existing ventilation regulation system was antiquated, with replacement parts no longer available. This led hotel manager Andreas Züllig to seek out Alpiq InTec in 2012 in search of a new solution. “We sensed that Mr Züllig was thinking long term and committed to saving energy,” says Urs Tschalèr of Alpiq InTec Ost AG in Chur. “We therefore suggested operating individual ventilation systems with CO2 or combined CO2/VOC air-quality sensors in addition to the classical option of replacing the ventilation regulation system and control cabinets.”

In the experience of Alpiq InTec’s ventilation pros, hotel ventilation systems are often controlled by timers, which leads to an unnecessarily high air volume in the rooms. “Our concept for Hotel Schweizerhof envisaged the system being controlled automatically via the sensors and then switching off as soon as the basic set values had been reached,” explains Urs Tschalèr. Andreas Züllig was also convinced and decided that – despite considerable additional costs and complex electrical work to connect the room sensors – this was the right option.

Short time frame – impressive savings

The conversion had to be completed during a four-week shutdown following Easter 2013 – a challenge for all those involved. “This made precise project planning all the more important,” says Urs Tschalèr. The job was further complicated by the fact that, in addition to the ventilation regulation system, the heating distributors for all ventilation reheaters in the substation had to be renovated. The hydraulics were also adjusted and more energy-efficient pumps and motors installed.

The results after a good year in operation are impressive: thanks to the measures planned and implemented by Alpiq InTec, the hotel now saves 11 per cent in electricity and 7 per cent in heating oil. This corresponds to a cost reduction (including CO2 reimbursement) of CHF 100,000 per year.

Watt d’Or: recognition of commitment

Hotel Schweizerhof’s commitment is part of the “Leuchtturm – Energieeffiziente Hotels Graubünden” (Beacon – energy-efficient hotels in Graubünden) programme run by hotelleriesuisse Graubünden. On 8 January 2015, both the organisation and programme initiator Gustav Lorenz were recognised for their achievements with the Watt d’Or award in the category Society. Jury president and Councillor of States Pascale Bruderer praised the initiative of the 98 Graubünden tourism businesses: “The trend towards greater sustainability in tourism deserves recognition. The Beacon project is setting an example for the whole of Switzerland in terms of greater energy efficiency.”

As part of the press coverage of the awards, Hotel Schweizerhof’s commitment was featured on SRF’s flagship news programme Tagesschau as a perfect example of the Beacon project – with a prominent appearance by hotelier Andreas Züllig and the energy-efficient ventilation system from Alpiq InTec.

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Main edition of the Tagesschau, 8 January 2015 (available in German). (hotelleriesuisse Graubünden)