ABB helping hotel cut energy usage by 40%

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Published: 15 April 2019


hotel spain HVAC variable speed drive
The HVAC systems have been upgraded with variable speed drives and energy efficient electric motors
A top Spanish hotel is cutting energy usage by 40% after equipping its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with ABB drives and high efficiency motors. Usage at the InterContinental Madrid has been reduced by 445,000 kWh a year.

The hotel has eight pump groups that serve its HVAC systems as well as hot water supply for guest rooms, kitchens and other facilities. Although these systems were well maintained and in good condition, the hotel management was concerned that the energy efficiency levels were below current best practice.

hotel spain HVAC variable speed drive
The InterContinental Madrid
The hotel called in ABB’s official value provider in Madrid, Exel Industrial, to carry out a detailed energy survey. The survey revealed that the hotel’s energy use was high, particularly in the existing baseplate pumps, where both the motors and the pumps were inefficient. ​Enrique Bernad Lillo, quality and financial manager at Exel, said: “The study showed that 40% of energy could be saved by decreasing the frequency of the motor by 10%.”

ABB recommended that the pumping systems should be upgraded with variable speed drives (VSDs) and electric motors with the IE3 energy efficiency classification that is now mandatory for compliance with EC regulations. In 2016, a total of 13 ABB HVAC drives and 16 IE3 motors were installed in new baseplate pump groups and integrated into building management systems. Using VSDs to regulate the pumps provides the system with greater stability and considerable energy savings, as the motor speeds are now adjusted to match the precise demand at any given time. 


The drives and motors also offer operational benefits that go beyond energy savings as they help to lower running noise while offering smooth starting. This reduces the stress on the pumping systems, helping to extend maintenance intervals. Overall maintenance needs are also being decreased by a longer pump life span, especially as the VSDs can eliminate the potentially harmful effects of pump cavitation, which refers to voids in liquids that implode near a metal surface and trigger intense shockwaves inside the pump.

Morton Wierod, president of ABB’s Motion business, said: “Our ABB intelligent motion solutions enable energy savings of around 40%, helping IHG not only to meet, but exceed its Green Engage goals. Over a year that adds up to 445,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), cutting the hotel’s annual energy bill by more than £28,000 to deliver a projected return on investment in less than two years. This is a great example of how our variable speed drives, combined with our high efficiency motors are providing the most affordable, effective and sustainable means of saving energy and optimising operations for our customers.”

As a result of IHG’s programme, the hotel’s carbon footprint has been cut by 253 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) a year. If similar savings could be replicated at just one in four of the world’s estimated 187,000 hotels (according to STR Global), it is estimated that global CO2 emissions could be reduced by nearly 12 million tonnes a year – similar to shutting down three coal-fired power plants.

Research by the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) says that the hotel industry currently accounts for 1% of all global emissions. This figure will increase as tourism continues to boom, with the total number of hotel rooms worldwide predicted to grow from 17.5 million to over 25 million by 2050.