European-style Windows: The Next Big Thing in Eco-friendly Hotel Upgrades

By Helmut Grohschaedl Vice President Window Solutions Americas, REHAU | April 29, 2018

It's no secret that America is enamored with European design – from cars to fashion to architecture. We covet the BMW i8 Roadster while the practical Honda Civic tops U.S. passenger car sales. We window-shop this season's Hermès of Paris collection at Saks Fifth Avenue while wearing our well-worn Levis. And we admire the latest super-matte frameless cabinets while worrying that installing our dream modern kitchen could lower our home's resale value. While European design captures our hearts, we sometimes hesitate to adopt it. Maybe the bold styling takes us outside of our comfort zone or maybe it's the premium price European design often commands. Nevertheless, many hotel brands look to Europe for the latest design trends.

Why is European design so appealing? What exactly is it? And how can European design inform our choices of construction materials such as windows and doors?

With regard to architecture, European design has become synonymous with modern design, which traces its roots back to the Bauhaus School of Design, founded in Germany in 1919 with a vision of uniting art and industrial design. Derived from the basic tenet of "form follows function," this design system places a strong emphasis on basic design, especially composition, color theory and craftsmanship. A reaction to the heavy ornamentation of the early 1900s, hallmarks of this design include clean lines, geometrical forms, functional elements and a mass-produced, hand-crafted feel. But let's not get the impression that Europeans have had the last word on modern design. America's own Frank Lloyd Wright left his mark on this design school by causing it to adopt the principle that design and nature should be in harmony.

The term "European design" is also commonly used to denote high quality, even luxury. When you strip materials down to their essence, taking away unnecessary decoration, these materials need to stand their ground with precision in form and function. With designers skilled in combining craft and art as well as a priority of advancing machine technology, European design often leads the world in durability, reliability and resource efficiency.

European Eco-consciousness is Deeply Rooted

Despite many Americans' sincere interest in "greener" options from the grocery store to transportation to household appliances, this country has a long way to go to catch up with the "green" lifestyles of Europe.

REACH Community Development, Orchards at Orenco, is the largest multifamily Passive House building in the United States
Hilton DoubleTree San Diego created a more energy-efficient and noise-resistant building envelope with uPVC windows.
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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.