It takes something special for a building to stand out in the Dubai skyline, and especially so when that building houses a hotel in a city that boasts the likes of the Armani Hotel, the Burj Al Arab and the Atlantis Hotel.
With competition at such a high standard, a hotel like Grosvenor House needs to offer the very best to its clients and residents. It makes a good start by being situated in the fashionable Dubai Marina district. What’s more it’s the sister hotel of the Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort and Spa.
MEP Middle East visits the luxurious Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai Marina to see how it’s hot water systems play a vital role in providing the luxury its guests have come to expect. Gavin Davids reports
Housed in two 45 storey towers, Grosvenor House consists of 744 rooms, suites and apartments, with Tower One holding 217 deluxe rooms and suites, along with 205 apartment suites. Tower Two adds a further 106 rooms and suites, five premier villas and 216 residence apartments.
Tower One of the luxury project opened in June 2005, becoming the first hotel in Dubai Marina, while Tower Two recently saw its full launch in the third quarter of 2011.
Together, the towers are home to more than a dozen restaurants and bars, including the world-famous Buddha Bar and the Embassy Dubai.
Given the size of the project, keeping it fully operational is a vital and complex task. One of the most important functions for a hotel is having a fully functioning and effective hot water system.
With thousands of users every day using the system for a variety of reasons, from personal hygiene to cleaning and flushing, a hot water system is can be considered as one of the most essential components of any hospitality venture, never mind one the size of Grosvenor House.
With this in mind, the hotel’s operators approached Austrian heat transfer specialists, Ecotherm, to design and supply the buildings’ hot water systems.
Having worked on a number of massive projects since its establishment as Ecotherm Austria GmbH, the company is regarded as one of the leading experts in development of hot water systems for luxury hotels.
Some of its other projects in the Middle East include the Burj Khalifa, the Abraj Al Bait Towers and Royal Clock Hotel Tower in Mecca and the Sidra Medical and Research Centre in Qatar. With a wealth of experience behind it, the company began work on the Grosvenor House project some eight years ago, following an extensive tendering process.
After receiving a design proposal from the MEP consultant on the project for a hot water system that had a capacity of 64,000lts, the hot water system specialists decided to make significant changes to the design.
Herbert Bremstaller, the CEO of Ecotherm, says that once the agreed to take on the project, the first decision he helped initiate was the redesign of the entire system so as to reduce its storage capacity.
“They (the client) already knew us from our work on the Royal Méridien, and were very happy with us because they knew how many references we had and how reliable our products are.”
“So they decided to go with us for the complete system as a turnkey project, which means we supplied the boilers, calorifiers, and control panels and so on, the complete package,” he explains during a tour of the Grosvenor House hot water heating systems.
The company reduced the hotel’s storage capacity for its hot water system from 64,000lts to 8,000lts as part of its plan to reduce space and make the system more efficient, thereby helping the client increase its energy savings.
“It’s about energy saving, because with a conventional system, when it is at full capacity or at peak demand, the hot water temperature will go down and you’ll require a heat up time of about half an hour, and everyone is waiting under the shower till the hot water comes. But with our system, we produce hot water instantly, at the required temperature,” Bremstaller explains.
“The energy being used to heat up 64,000lts, and keep it holding throughout the day, we save that by heating on demand. (Although) we have continuous peak energy demand requirements, we store very little, so we don’t waste energy as such,” adds Deetish Budkuley, the managing director for the Ecotherm International Support Centre in Dubai.
Because of the use of the shell and tube exchanger with turbulator rods, the Ecotherm system can heat up water in one second, he says, in comparison to conventional hot water systems, where internal heat exchangers require a long time to heat up and the boiler’s burner will have to be constantly turned off and on, resulting in a waste of energy.
This reduction in energy usage is especially useful because during the peak hot water demand, the hotel uses around 58,000lts of water per hour at 60˚. This happens around four times a day, resulting in about 232,000lts of water being heated every day, Budkuley says.
As a result of the huge amount of water being used on a daily basis, the team decided to use gas fired three pass boilers for the hotel’s hot water system because of their high efficiency rate, helping them keep to their stated aim of reducing energy wastage.
“They have a very high efficiency rate of 94% and what is also very important is the sizing of the system. It’s not oversized like in most hotels and hospitals. They oversize everything, the boilers, the calorifiers, everything, in a hotel of this size, if you compare it to other hotels in Dubai, their storage capacity will be around 50,000lts, most of the time,” Bremstaller says.
“If you have a standard hotel, you’ll have a much larger standard capacity and this keeps circulating and a much larger capacity of boilers, this keeps on circulating and heating the water,” Budkuley adds.
“What we have is a microprocessor control on the calorifier itself, which gives a signal on requirement, so it doesn’t switch on the boiler unless there’s a requirement. We don’t usually let the boiler run throughout the day, and so we’re saving that energy, as compared to a traditional boiler system,” he says.
When it came to installing the system, Budkuley says that Ecotherm had the advantage over their competitors because of the quick installation time of the system.
“A singular system of our competitors would take about a month or more to completely install, but I would say that seven days is too much time for us, four days is usually enough,” he adds, confidently.
“We were able to install the system with boilers, and have it operational, within one week. The complete installation, with piping, saves a lot of time at the site and also solves the problem of contractors buying components from different companies,” he said explaining further.
“They can have five different warranty suppliers and (when something goes wrong), everyone blames everyone. In our case, with our turnkey hot water system, they only have one hot water partner,” Bremstaller says.
Finally, the system offers one more handy advantage to the staff at Grosvenor House, thanks to the remote control systems that Ecotherm have installed, which allow the installer to monitor every system over the internet, even from its factory in Austria.
“If there’s any fouling or anything, then you have a fouling alarm (go off) and we can prevent it by using our heat exchanger. Additionally, we have external cold water flushing in areas where they have a lot of hard water, and we can link it with our system and give out an alarm, also by remote control, to a client or local agent, if they’re allowed to be connected to the system,” he says.
With the entire system designed to European Industrial Standards, both Bremstaller and Budkuley say that the lifecycle for the system is expected to be over 30 years. As a result, in conjunction with the Ecotherm International Support Centre, they have begun training staff at the Grosvenor House to handle all the required low level maintenance, thereby ensuring the continued smooth operation of the system, with minimal cost to their client.
Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai
Facts for the Turnkey Hot Water System in Tower One and Two.
• Under operation since 2005
• 2x Gas fired three pass boilers, each with 1,900 kW and modulating burners
• 4x ECOTHERM High Capacity Water Heaters, each with 2,000 litres and 800 kW
• Total capacity of 3,200 kW and 8,000 litres
• Maximum system capacity: 76,500 litres of hot water (60 ºC)
• Under operation since 2011
• 2x Gas Boilers, each with 1,200 kW
• 2x EHRE High Capacity Water Heaters, each with 2,000 litres and 1,000 kW
• Maximum capacity of 2,000 kW and 4,000 litres
• Maximum system capacity: 47,000 litres of hot water (60 ºC)
(The system in Tower Two uses shell & tube heat exchangers with an improved performance. Therefore the total capacity of the system was reduced compared to Tower One.)