Photography credit: Rafael Vargas
Situated in a historic building on the elegant Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona, the 5-star Monument Hotel recently re-opened after an extensive renovation. This prestigious hotel had exacting standards when it came to the refit programme, including specific requirements for the building’s air conditioning system which needed to complement the impressive interior design.
Barcelona-based installer, IJT Instalaciones selected Panasonic’s ECOi VRF recovery solution thanks to its high performance heating and cooling, discreet installation and energy-efficient capabilities.
The spectacular Monument Hotel, part of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Collection, is housed in a neo-Gothic palace dating back to 1896. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city’s commercial, tourist, cultural and business hub, on the Paseo de Gracia – one of the most exclusive avenues in Barcelona.
Its exterior boasts a colourful polychrome facade, one of the most artistic and impressive on Paseo de Gracia, created from a combination of materials including exposed brick, stone, ceramics and wrought iron. Inside, the blend of space and modernist elements, with an emphasis on light and texture, creates a fascinating interior, crafted by architects Oscar Tusquets, Carles Bassó and Tote Moreno in collaboration with interior designer Mercè Borrell.
The Monument has 84 exclusive rooms and suites, which vary in size from 24m² to 85m², designed to showcase the building’s breadth and luminosity thanks to high ceilings and large windows. The interior design of each room includes details of brickwork on the walls, oak flooring and furniture made with natural materials that provide great warmth, harmony and visual comfort.
For the renovation project, it was vital that the air conditioning system could work in harmony with the hotel’s considered design, with fittings being discreetly disguised within the fabric of the interior.
Luxurious comfort with maximum efficiency
IJT Instalaciones worked closely with engineer, RF2 Enginyers, to install Panasonic’s ECOi VRF air conditioning system to service all of the hotel bedrooms across five floors. Designed to offer total comfort for guests, the ECOi VRF system is ideal for large commercial projects thanks to its adaptable design and energy saving attributes. The ECOi VRF also offers simultaneous heating and cooling capabilities, which saves both energy and costs, as warm air generated during operation can be extracted and distributed to other areas of the hotel for heating. This eco-friendly transfer of heat also supports the hotel’s overall sustainability objectives.
Moreover, the ECOi VRF outdoor units are very compact at just 1m² per unit and requiring only 10cm between each unit, taking up just a third of the space of a conventional hydraulic system. This is especially beneficial for a hotel such as the Monument, which is located in a busy city centre location where external space is at a minimum. The total exterior installation included four ECOi outdoor heat pump units and 12 ECOi VRF outdoor units with heat recovery.
Internally, each hotel room has been installed with ultra-slim M1 variable static pressure units, which have an extremely quiet sound level of just 25dB. These thin and discreet units have been installed within the very narrow false ceilings, so as not to interfere with the interior.
In the rest of the building, where the ceilings are quite low, concealed floor-standing R1 units have been installed within perimeter areas to provide powerful and effective air conditioning. The R1 units have been fitted without enclosures, so that they are completely concealed within the existing decor.
Intelligent control system
The hotel’s air conditioning is managed with Panasonic’s intelligent hotel controller system, which allows independent in-room temperature regulation, while also being connected to the hotel’s reception for greater efficiency and control.
A single digital thermostat located in each room allows guests to manage both the indoor air-conditioning unit and bathroom floor heating. The controller can also be pre-set with minimum and maximum temperature levels and specific scenarios such as ‘vacant’, ‘occupied’ or ‘day’ and ‘night’.
While the hotel rooms appear to be controlled by a simple, conventional digital thermostat, the complete system is much more complex. The in-room thermostats link to a KNX internet cloud control system via a Panasonic CZ-CFUNC2 adaptor, centralising overall control of every thermostat. With this centralised management system, facilities and building managers can monitor energy usage throughout the hotel and maximise efficiency and cost-savings.
Another element that can be integrated into the KNX cloud control system is the room reservation system. With this feature users can define different room statuses, for example "quiet room" and "room not booked". Combining this information with the status of "room occupied" and "unoccupied room" through key card intelligence, users can define a table of settings for each of the situations allowing them to further optimise comfort and savings.
At the Monument Hotel, Panasonic has delivered a sustainable and cost-effective solution through a winning combination of high-performance air conditioning and intelligent cloud control. The complete installation not only provides long-term cost and energy savings, but also discreet fittings that blend seamlessly into the hotel’s beautiful interior design.
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