x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ajman hotel proud of its green water

Ninety panels on the roof of the Kempinski Hotel are trapping the sun's heat and using it to produce hot water for the hotel's guests.

A hotel in Ajman is using solar power to produce hot water for its guests.

On the roof of the Kempinski Hotel are 90 panels that capture the sun's heat and transfer it to a network of water pipes.

The pipes are connected to a central tank where the hot water is stored, and from there it travels to guests' rooms through a conventional plumbing system.

The system, installed in July at a cost of Dh570,000, can heat 30,000 litres of water to 65°C every day.

The hotel hopes the system can prevent 140 tonnes of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere every year, while significantly cutting its costs.

Over the lifetime of the panels, which are guaranteed by the maker for 26 years, the hotel hopes to save almost Dh2.5 million on its energy bills.

The project is a showcase for Kreen, a joint venture with the Kempinski hotel chain; Stadtwerke Mainz, a German public corporation; and Marshfield Energy, a Swiss renewable energy company.

Kreen acts as a consultant in energy efficiency to other Kempinski hotels, and properties not related to the chain.

"The energy costs are very high in hotels, and energy demand is also very high," said Dr Horst Kreuter, chief executive of Kreen.

Because of relatively low prices for electricity in the UAE, some forms of renewable energy are not cost efficient, Dr Kreuter said.

Solar heating and solar cooling, in which special chillers use a chemical reaction to convert heat from the sun into cool water, are the easiest and cheapest renewable options. They also yield the quickest returns.

"They are the lowest-hanging fruit in renewable energy," Dr Kreuter said.

Kempinski hotels in other countries are also looking into how they can harness renewable energy.

"What started this initiative was need," said Ulrich Eckhardt, Kempinski's regional president for the Middle East, Africa and India.

"We needed to look at alternatives - how to reduce the cost, while at the same time becoming a better corporate citizen from the environmental point of view.

"We already have three hotels in our focus."

In one hotel, on the shores of the Dead Sea in Jordan, the company is exploring whether solar power could be used to also generate electricity.

A hotel on an island in the Seychelles, where there are serious power problems, could also benefit.

"Energy there is extremely expensive," said Mr Eckhardt, explaining that the hotel uses diesel fuel to generate electricity - a relatively expensive and environmentally unfriendly option. "We need to see to what extent we can be self-sufficient."

Kreen is also working with a hotel in Djibouti and is in talks with owners of other Kempinski hotels in the UAE.

vtodorova@thenational.ae