The only way for Whitbread to track energy and water usage within its hotels was for staff to take periodic manual readings.

The company asked us to research and develop a bespoke building management system (BMS) that would monitor current and historic energy and water consumption, providing vital management information to assist in future decisions.

The task was to design and build a BMS for each hotel, including transmission of data to Whitbread HQ and on-demand reporting. Our R&D team began by examining all aspects of the hotels’ energy and water systems.

The team discovered that while each hotel has been built to a simple design, no two are the same. This meant that while the core elements of each BMS could be similar, the system would have to be customised for each site. While all hotels have water, gas and electricity, some also have solar energy installations, which had to be taken into account.

It was important that while inputs into the BMS might vary, the outputs should be standardised to ensure the information provided to HQ is uniform and comparable. Data should be instantly available to HQ from each hotel, with no need for manual input at the site.

We researched the market for the appropriate components, liaising with a sister company specialising in control systems. Following a process of prototyping and trialling, we developed a solution that not only meets the client’s needs, but has become an integral part of our own management strategy.

The benefits of the BMS to our client include:

  • Ability to identify and analyse major energy consumption differences for similar size hotels, possibly highlighting mechanical or operational problems.
  • A means to assess the cost-effectiveness of solar energy.
  • Information to help establish equipment needs for new builds.
  • Information leading to energy-saving initiatives and cost savings.