New boutique hotel saves energy

Hotel Bella Italia, a new hotel in Sønderborg, Denmark, uses a GreenZone™ solution from OJ Electronics to manage heating and ventilation in the rooms, ensuring that guests get exactly the comfort they need – and that the hotel itself enjoys greatly reduced energy consumption. 

The challenge

How can an entirely new hotel ensure comfort for its guests, keep energy costs down and enjoy technical installations that blend in seamlessly with the elegantly minimalist interiors? That was the challenge faced by the brothers Daniel and Michél Totaro as they expanded their family business –to include hotel management.

Expanding the family business

The two brothers run a successful restaurant in Sønderborg and could perfectly well have rested on their laurels, but when the opportunity to build a hotel adjacent to the restaurant turned up, they jumped at the chance. They embarked on a three-stage project: a gentle remodelling of the restaurant itself and a two-stage construction project to build an entirely new hotel. The first stage of the hotel project was completed in November 2015.

The GreenZone control the indoor climate

Intelligent and energy-efficient solution

Thomas Grosen, who was project manager for all ventilation aspects of this project, immediately brought in OJ Electronics and suggested that the new GreenZone™ system should control the indoor climate of the hotel’s individual rooms. GreenZone™ is a sophisticated VAV zone control system capable of handling different temperature and comfort settings in up to 125 separate zones per AHU – while also saving plenty of energy in day-to-day operation. As Thomas says: “What we wanted to do at Bella Italia was to create a system that is intelligent and which saves energy. The intelligent aspects are obvious from the fact that you can access full information about the system and its performance at any time.”

Energy savings pay off

“But the really huge benefit for the hotel is the fact that the VAV zone control system saves plenty of energy. I am firmly convinced that spending a bit of extra money on controls in the beginning pays off – you’ll soon see returns on that investment. At this hotel the OJ GreenZone-system automatically controls the radiators and the cooling functions as required – this means that you never overshoot your targets, and you don’t see things counteracting each other. In conventional systems you might easily see guests switching on their radiators while also setting their ventilation system to cool the room, and that sort of thing guzzles up plenty of power for no reason at all. That won’t happen with the GreenZone system. It also switches off the radiator and the ventilation system in the room if the guest opens the window. When the window is shut, everything is switched back on.”

“Energy consumption is important to us”

Daniel and Michél add: “We run a low-energy house – it’s got plenty of insulation, the heat from the pizza oven is recycled, and so on – so the GreenZone system was a perfect match for our position on energy savings. It was also important for us to ensure that our guests wouldn’t accidentally be wasteful with the air condition, so to speak. Here, no one can accidentally set the temperature at 5 or 35 degrees”. The pre-set limits also protect guests against inadvertently making their rooms unpleasantly warm or chilly. “Right now, we’ve chosen a maximum temperature of 23 degrees and a minimum temperature of 18,” relates Michél; “but of course we’ll be happy to accommodate our guests’ wishes if they want a greater range of temperatures to choose from.”


Hotel owners Daniel and Michél Totaro

“Very pleasant to work with!

Thomas Grosen is eager to point out the ease of working with the GreenZone system: “Installation was impressively easy! The system uses Modbus, so all the electricians have to do is to connect the modules in series using the four wires – and that’s very simple for them to work out!” His view is confirmed by Morten Michelsen from Sydjysk Eltekniq, who was one of the electricians attached to the project: “Our part of the job was very easy! The product was new to us, but very pleasant to work with; wiring it up was simple and straightforward, and this really IS a plug’n’play solution – connecting it to the CTS/BMS system was extremely easy.” Thomas adds: “Yes, the really impressive bit comes when you power up the system for the first time: the GreenZone finds all the modules automatically and assigns addresses to them; then you can tell them what to do. It’s all done in the blink of the eye, and you won’t have to do any of the time-consuming programming you’re used to. Day-to-day adjustments are equally simple: let us say that Daniel and Michél decide that they want the rooms to be 20 degrees when the guests arrive: they can simply enter that setting once, and then copy it onto all the other modules.”

Scandinavian simplicity

The result

The new hotel is now finished, and the guests are well cared for. Its attention to detail is largely attributable to Michél’s wife, Mette, who was in charge of the interior design. Her confident taste is clearly apparent: the rooms are decorated in an attractive international hotel style infused by a distinctively Scandinavian simplicity that draws inspiration from the hotel’s island setting. The overall effect is effortlessly stylish and very accessible.

Technology shouldn’t really be seen!

Mette approves the choice of GreenZone: “I think I’m like a lot of women in this regard: technological features aren’t there to be seen, they’re there to work! The touchscreen panels merge very well with the décor, and they’re easy to use: there are no unnecessary functions to prompt confusion here.” The first guests have used the GreenZone touchscreen panels without any trouble, describing them as easy and intuitive – and the hotel is set to enjoy automatic energy savings for many years to come. Work on the ventilation system has progressed smoothly – hampered only by a minor inconvenience caused by a change in the format of the window frames – and Thomas Grosen describes his co-operation with OJ Electronics as exemplary: “OJ Electronics get top marks for their assistance! They offer plenty of support, they’re there for you if you call them, and they’re always ready to come up with a solution if there’s something special you’d like a system to do.” The project already looks set to become a well-deserved success: the brothers have received plenty of inquiries and bookings from the local business community without having done any advertising at all. Hopefully it won’t be long before twelve more hotel rooms shoot up next to the ones that have just been built.

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