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The all-electric Premier Inn opened by Whitbread PLC at Swindon is to be the first in a new generation of new-build Premier Inn hotels operating with 100 per cent renewable energy and no use of fossil fuels.
Learnings from the hotel’s design and operation will inform an emissions-reducing strategy for Premier Inn’s hotel estate across the UK and Ireland and will contribute to Whitbread’s target to remove mains gas connections across its properties by 2040 wherever possible.
The hotel’s innovative features include an energy-efficient air-to-water Mitsubishi Q-Ton CO2 Heat Pump to heat water, low energy LED lighting with lighting controls and metering connected to a battery monitoring system with auto monitoring and targeting of energy use.
Solar photovoltaic panels have been installed on-site and the hotel will only purchase renewable electricity from the grid. The building ‘envelope’ was designed to meet BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standards, using an innovative Passivhaus-influenced ‘fabric first’ design to optimise energy use.
Richard Aldread, head of construction in the UK regions and Ireland for Whitbread, says: “By welcoming guests to our first all-electric budget hotel in the UK, we are opening the doors on the future. Swindon’s 100 per cent renewably powered Premier Inn shows that sustainability and affordability can be two sides of the same coin and is part of a string of investments in innovative, sustainable properties at Whitbread.
“We have ambitious plans to expand the number of Premier Inn bedrooms towards our long-term potential of 125,000 rooms in the UK and Ireland, up from 83,500 currently, and this should not happen at the expense of net zero commitments.
“Premier Inn Swindon Town Centre is our first all-electric hotel without connection to a mains gas supply and is the culmination of years of hard work and commitment to designing and operating lower-carbon hotels.”
The five-storey hotel has 195 bedrooms. It is kitted out with fully electric equipment in the kitchens well as an air-source heat pump to provide hot water it has a mechanical ventilation system capable of recycling heat.
Regarding existing hotels, the aim is for them to be retrofitted to electric-only. Trials of this are being carried out to ensure the technology works well for both the business and guests – and to work out the best way of swapping out gas boilers to electric air-source heat pumps in a full hotel with inevitable space constraints. The use of gas currently accounts for some 70 per cent of Whitbread’s operational CO2 emissions.