Automatic Heating replaced the aging atmospheric boilers at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne with new condensing hot water heaters to help the iconic hotel achieve a 25 per cent reduction in gas consumption.

The Cold Hard Facts 2 report prepared for the Australian Government in 2012 revealed that hotels use an estimated 12 per cent of the total natural gas consumed by Australia’s commercial building stock. Natural gas is mainly used by hotels for space heating, domestic hot water and pool heating. The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) confirms that these applications account for about 62 per cent of all hotel gas consumption.

A property-wide commitment to carbon emissions reduction has seen the 30-year-old Crowne Plaza Melbourne become a flagbearer of sustainable best practice for both its management group IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) and the wider hotel industry.

Since 2005, the hotel’s management team has placed significant focus on Crowne Plaza Melbourne’s energy and water use, and delivered significant cost savings as well as a reduction in the hotel’s environmental footprint. The same year, the hotel joined the Melbourne City Council’s Waste Wise programme and also began working towards achieving reductions in gas, electricity and water consumption.

Between 2005 and 2009, the hotel’s monthly electrical energy consumption was reduced from 365,000 kWh to 260,000 kWh by implementing several measures recommended after an energy audit to improve efficiency. After reducing electricity consumption by almost 29 per cent, the hotel’s management team turned its attention to reducing its natural gas consumption.

Crowne Plaza Melbourne’s Chief Engineer approached Automatic Heating in 2013 to provide replacements for the hotel’s aging and inefficient atmospheric boilers used for in-room temperature control and domestic hot water.

Under a Design & Construct agreement, Automatic Heating replaced the hotel’s old atmospheric boilers with much more efficient Modulex condensing hot water heaters. The new state-of-the-art system was tailored to meet the access and space limitations of the plantroom, and installed with minimal disruption to guest amenity.

In addition to meeting the climate control needs of guestrooms and public spaces, the three new 770kW Modulex condensing hot water heaters were also able to satisfy the hotel’s domestic hot water demands, and provide heating to the hotel’s outdoor pool.

The installation of the new system resulted in Crowne Plaza Melbourne’s gas consumption reducing by an average of approximately 25 per cent per month. The savings continue even two years after the installation. The continuing use of a building energy management system and variable speed drives for air handling units have also contributed to a reduction in energy use across the hotel.

Crowne Plaza Melbourne’s commitment to sustainability has been recognised both internationally and locally. After winning the Green Globe Bronze Award, an international benchmarking and certification program for environmental sustainability, the hotel won the Best Environmental and Energy Efficiency Practice award at the Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) State (Victoria) Awards for Excellence in 2013.