Net Zero Energy: Why Sustainable Cities Need Sustainable Hotels
By Circe Sher Co-Founder, Piazza Hospitality | May 06, 2018
This article was co-authored by Daniele Petrone, Development Associate, Piazza Hospitality
Piazza Hospitality's soon to be built Hotel Sebastopol project in California's Sonoma Wine Country will be a small, design-oriented boutique hotel with 66 rooms, including 6 bunk rooms. Located at 6828 Depot Street in Sebastopol, California, the hotel will also include a lobby and reception area, retail, artist/maker studios, restaurant, bar, lounge, wellness center, public courtyard, private gardens, outdoor rooftop decks, meeting rooms, and other amenities.
The project will be at the heart of an environmentally-focused community. Officially a self-declared nuclear-free zone, Sebastopol embraces the environmental protection movement, focusing on sustainable living, local and healthy dining, wetland preservation, active transportation, renewable energy, and more. The project plans to fully embrace the local community's commitment to sustainability, aiming to achieve both LEED certification and net zero energy status. To produce all energy needed for operations on site, plans include solar panels on all available roof space and over the project's parking lot, as well as a multiple energy efficiency measures such as a greywater recycling system, multi pane windows, and a waste water heat pump. Additional sustainability features include free bike share for hotel guests and employees, secure on-site bicycle parking, locker and shower facilities, renewable and reused construction materials, native and low-water plantings, and a living roof. The hope is that these investments will not only reduce the hotel's environmental impact, but also improve both guest experience and the hotel's bottom line.
Net Zero Energy
A net zero energy building is defined as a building where the total yearly amount of energy used is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. These buildings consequently produce less overall greenhouse gas emissions than similar non-zero net energy buildings, as energy is created through renewable environmentally friendly sources and produced locally, limiting energy loss associated with long distance transmission. The efficient use of energy in the hotel sector is driven by many factors, including guest interest in green hotels, lower operational expenses and energy costs, increasing demand for services that require energy, and ever present pressures on profitability, marketability, and competition.
To achieve net zero energy status, the Hotel Sebastopol building was modeled using OpenStudio v2.2 software to estimate savings from energy efficiency measures and determine the solar photovoltaic (PV) system size needed for net zero energy operation. It became clear that hotel guest comfort could be greatly improved and energy use greatly reduced with a combination of energy efficient measures. These measures were evaluated for their energy reduction impacts, costs, operational impacts, and impacts on guest comfort. The final package of measures settled upon, which combine to achieve net zero energy status, include: