When we want to choose an air conditioning system for a hotel, we must consider several criteria to choose the most appropriate type of equipment. In this way, we will be able to save on energy, maintenance and other aspects of interest.
For this reason, today we will look at the most important criteria in decision making.
The main criteria to be taken into account are the safety of people and property, as well as the conservation of the environment. So, energy consumption and the energy efficiency of the equipment to be installed are essential, and it will be necessary to carry out a technical study that takes into account the following aspects:
• Climatic zone according to maximum, average and minimum temperatures and percentages of relative humidity.
• Seasons of maximum occupation and energy levels of the outside air during the said occupation.
• Structure of the hotel in terms of building height, the orientation of the facades, room layout, thermal insulation, and possible location of the HVAC rooms.
• Possibilities of drilling wells to take advantage of the geothermal characteristics of the area.
• Use of residual energy. Regarding the equipment, the following should be taken into account:
• Required thermal power
• Energy impact study
• Types of energy available (taking into account renewables as much as possible)
• Possibility of use adapted to existing residual energies
Today it is possible to construct buildings with a very low environmental footprint, with high degrees of insulation and use of residual heat, to lower the energy bill as much as possible. It is advisable to do a thorough analysis to find out why undesirable energy losses or gains occur.
Due to the significant energy cost, in large hotels or commercial premises, a feasibility study should be considered to adopt a tri-generation system. That is, to produce electrical energy and take advantage of the residual energy of these systems, to supply cooling, heating, and hot water. At the same time, surplus electrical energy production could be traded on the energy market.
It is important, in case of adopting this type of system, to evaluate it by providing data on the energy footprint per room/day. Nowadays there are already clients who are very aware of environmental issues, and these are becoming an important criterion of choice among business owners.
If, on the other hand, it is the replacement of existing air conditioning equipment, then there are different systems available.
In recent decades, inverter systems (compressors and fans with frequency inverters) have evolved with small modifications and have achieved significant reductions in consumption, recovering up to four times the energy consumed from the environment.
Inverter systems with heat recovery have revolutionised air conditioning, as they allow exponential energy savings based on the differences between the hot and cold sources. The decrease in consumption is so important that some manufacturers are considering using photovoltaic solar energy as the sole source of energy to supply the electrical needs of the equipment.
For a time, the leading equipment in air conditioning was mechanical compression system with heat recovery (air-water). One of the main advantages lay in the centralisation of the equipment in one or more machine rooms, facilitating maintenance and repair operations.
Heat recovery in the mechanical compression process is based on the use of energy in the hottest point of the circuit, that is, in the discharge of the compressor to preheat domestic hot water. We can even heat the swimming pool and sanitary water with the excess heat in the rooms.
VRV and VRF systems
The Refrigerant volume variable (VRV), also known as refrigerant flow Variable (VRF), is increasingly evolving better and better energy efficiency, so such systems have been widely used in modern facilities. This technology is very suitable for hotels due to its low noise level, its high efficiency, its ease of installation, and its adaptability to consumption demand.
VRVs or VRFs are systems in which the heat is transported directly by the refrigerant (direct expansion systems). Its main characteristic is the high level of electronic technology that protects the refrigeration system if the installation is well executed. This causes very few problems.
In all cases, it is recommended to consult with a commercial air conditioning specialist to evaluate the site and proposed installation.