The idea of “taking a breath of fresh air” is redefining itself in the hotel industry thanks to an emphasis on the importance of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) like never before. Hotels frequently change bedding and towels, but how often is indoor air “changed” or refreshed for the better?
Achieving optimum IAQ is a crucial part of the equation when it comes to ensuring guest comfort and health, and that is driving some hoteliers to determine how best to do that while maintaining budgets and energy efficiency. Being inside doesn’t always provide protection from bad air – at last year’s Global Wellness Summit, Ramesh Caussy, PhD, who created the DIYA One Wellness Robot, said that “indoor air can be 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.”
Better air quality was even designated one of the top eight wellness trends for 2018 according to the Global Wellness Summit. Here are the top four things for hoteliers to consider when it comes to improving IAQ.
#1 – Pollutants Be Gone
Hoteliers are often focused on what guests can “see” in a hotel – luxurious accommodations, trendy public spaces, landscaped outdoor areas, fantasy pools, culinary wizardry, etc. – but what’s not “seen” needs to be addressed with the same vigor.
Attaining the best-possible IAQ is about more than heating and cooling guest accommodations and public spaces. Hotels must improve ventilation to remove indoor air pollutants – such as dust, pathogens, bad odors, mold and mildew – and bringing filtered, neutral outdoor air into a closed space is a viable solution.
Considering the health of guests can positively impact the wealth of hotels by raising customer comfort levels, increasing loyalty, and generating positive praise on social channels. Increasing employee health and comfort counts, too, because better IAQ can significantly boost employee productivity.
# 2 – The Agony of Humidity
According to Blair Hildahl, COO/Principal of the architectural and engineering firm Base4, “Fresh air gives an immediate feeling of clean, cool and calm.”
To successfully deliver that fresh in-room air, HVAC systems need to control both temperature and humidity. Most HVAC thermostats only control temperature, which can lead to over-cooling a room and unnecessary work on the HVAC system, thereby lowering its life expectancy.
Bringing outdoor air inside naturally removes stifling humidity. As a result, guests don’t feel as hot or uncomfortable, and that raises satisfaction levels. But, when outside air can’t effectively be introduced into a building, this leads to problems controlling temperature and humidity. Superior dehumidification capabilities are essential to not only improve comfort but reduce the chance of mold and mildew growth.
Friedrich’s advanced FreshAire PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner) system truly conditions and filters outside ventilation air and triumphs with dehumidification by removing moisture and optimizing the temperature of the incoming air. The system also features quieter start-up and operation (not causing guests to wake up in the middle of the night), reduced temperature swings to enhance guest comfort, and better efficiency
#3 – Succeed With Simple Solutions
Improving IAQ doesn’t require multiple products anymore. There are simple, all-in-one solutions to successfully bring inside outdoor air that meets strict codes for conditioned and filtered air for both guest accommodations and common areas.
Single-packaged systems are emerging as a practical, worthwhile in-room solution offering a win-win for hoteliers and customers. Products are easier to maintain and repair (because there is one unit, not an entire rooftop system), energy-efficient (they are more accurate), and cost-effective (saving energy and money because one unit can heat, cool and improve IAQ).
An industry game-changer, Friedrich’s VRP (variable refrigerant packaged) closet-installed unit provides conditioned fresh air, true humidity control, and super-efficient heating and cooling capabilities. Its single-packaged simplicity solves more design problems than other complex systems without sacrificing performance.
#4 – No Problem for Replacements & Renovations
Smart HVAC solutions that emphasize IAQ are increasingly being incorporated into sustainable modern-day hotel construction. Strategic, easy-to-implement products to bolster IAQ, though, are not reserved solely for new-builds. Existing properties can install an efficient, cost-effective IAQ solution during equipment replacements and property renovations.
Improving IAQ doesn’t require an extensive overhaul of a hotel’s systems, which is key to keeping costs down. Rooftop central systems can be decentralized with a PTAC option to service common areas. Single-packaged units help boost operating efficiency because of upgraded technology that better monitors individual temperature usage and features sophisticated humidity controls.
Real estate developers and engineers are increasingly looking at how to effectively bring conditioned outdoor air into their hotels in order to meet new building codes, improve IAQ, and enhance customer comfort. Hotels no longer need to purchase multiple products to achieve this – there are simple, cost-effective, energy-efficient solutions in the marketplace that deliver benefits in droves, offering a satisfying breath of fresh air.