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1Improving the energy efficiency of the UK hotel buildings with a focuson occupants’ thermal comfort.Abstract: in the light of the UK’s ambitious goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by2050, the minimum energy efficiency standard (MEES) has been put forward. According to this newrequirement, a minimum energy efficiency rating of level E is required for commercial buildings beforea new lease can be made. Consequently, hotel industry, recognised as one of the major contributors toannual emissions, is affected by this new legislation. This research aims to find viable and cost-effectivemeasures to fulfil the requirements of MEES regulation without compromising guests’ comfort andwellbeing. In order to achieve this goal, computational modelling and energy simulation will be usedin addition to site investigation. Investigating indoor air quality is another aspect of this research whichwill be carried out through real time monitoring of air quality in selected guest rooms. It is expectedthat the results of this study will be of high applicability in hospitality industry by assisting the relatedbodies to choose cost-effective measures for fulfilling the current and future requirements.Keywords: MEES requirements, energy efficiency in hotels, EPC rating for commercial buildings,thermal comfort, energy simulation1. Introduction1.1 overviewIn recent years, with professionals and public showing concerns about the potentialimpacts of global warming, the United Kingdom (UK) government has set the ambitious goalof 80% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 compared to 1990s levels inClimate Change Act 2008 (Committee on Climate Change, 2017). This needs unprecedentedlevels of effort and change in many sectors to make the necessary reductions, while keepingthe energy sector secure and competitive. While this target will be followed in different sectors,analyses indicate that high energy saving potentials lie within the building sector (Boßmann,Eichhammer and Elsland, 2012) especially with regards to the fact that in the UK, buildings2contribute to 47% of emissions (Taylor et al., 2010).In order to achieve the challenging goal of 80% reductions in GHG emissions, and whileone of the most effective means of reducing the emissions is energy efficiency (EuropeanCommission, 2012), the UK government has introduced stricter minimum energy efficiencyrequirements for new buildings and energy-efficiency retrofitting for existing buildings suchas the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulation which has come into effectsince April 2018. It requires the landlords of commercial buildings to ensure a minimum energyperformance rating of E or above before a new lease is made (Department for Business, 2017).Hotels are among the commercial buildings affected by this regulation. In general, hotelbuildings are considered to be significantly energy intensive with high rates of CO2 emissions(Navratil et al., 2019). They rank fifth for energy consumption in the commercial buildingssector after food services, sales, health care and offices (Wang, 2012; Buso et al., 2017). Thereasons for this high energy consumptions lie within the nature of hotels’ services that requirecontinual heating/cooling energy, guests’ expectations for high quality indoor environment anda 24-hour need for domestic hot water (Deng and Burnett, 2000; Xing, Ren and Ling, 2015).Given the fact that most of the required energy is derived from fossil fuels, hotel industry’shigh CO2 emission is not unexpected (Teng et al., 2012). Also, from a human behaviour pointof view, guests might find themselves free of concerns about energy efficiency issues that theyusually encounter in other places such as their own houses (Santamouris et al., 1996; Roberts,2008; Rotimi et al., 2017). On the other hand, some studies claim that in recent years, guestshave become more aware of environmental issues and tend to show more flexibility towardssaving energy (Han et al., 2011; Buso et al., 2017). There are evidences from literature that byapplying more environment-friendly approaches, hotels leave a positive impact on their guestswhich results in higher customer satisfaction and higher chances of a revisit on a future trip(Lee et al., 2010; Kularatne et al., 2019).1.2 Aims and objectives, research questions.The main goal of the hospitality industry is to provide the guests with comfort (Taylor etal., 2010; Milojković, Nikolić and Stanković, 2012), therefore any measures for improving theenergy efficiency of hotel buildings should cater for this value and does not compromise thehealth, comfort and wellbeing of the guests.3Two important aspects of occupant comfort in an indoor environment are thermalcomfort and indoor air quality (IAQ). These two factors are interconnected. There areevidences from literature that a change in thermal environment might change occupants’perception of the IAQ (de Dear and Brager, 2002; Dorizas, Assimakopoulos and Santamouris,2015). Any indoor environment that fails to provide its occupants with acceptable conditionsof these two parameters can cause short- and long-term adverse effects on the occupants’ healthand wellbeing apart from causing discomfort.With MEES requirements in action, the importance of indoor environment on occupantcomfort and the constant challenge of making profit in hospitality industry, this research aimsto find cost-effective measures for complying with MEES requirements while maintainingguests’ thermal comfort. Given the fact that in upcoming years it is expected to experiencehigher temperature (Panayiota Pieri, Tzouvadakis and Santamouris, 2015), the hotelsperformance under each energy retrofitting measure will be investigated with both current andfuture weather files provided by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers(CIBSE).Additionally, the field of IAQ in hotel guest rooms has not received much attention. Thisis especially of high importance in hotels with sealed facades and non-openable windows.Therefore, another goal of this research is to investigate the IAQ in selected guest rooms ofHilton Hotels (as a partner of this study) through real time monitoring.Therefore, this research is carried out to answer the following questions:• What are the cost-effective measures to improve the energy efficiency of selected UKHilton Hotels in order to meet MEES Requirement?• Is it possible to meet the MEES requirements and maintain the indoor environment inthe guestrooms such that the thermal comfort is not adversely affected for the guests?• How is the EPC rating of a currently compliant hotel affected when certain measuresare taken to enhance the guests’ comfort e.g. adding an air conditioning system?• In the light of the expected increase in temperature in future, what are the economicallyviable measures for meeting the MEES requirements?• Does the IAQ in the UK hotel guest rooms meet the minimum requirements for guests’health and comfort?41.3 The significance of the studyThe results of this research provide practical quantifiable solutions for theowner/manager of a noncompliant hotel building by determining whether applying specificmeasures leads to meeting the MEES requirement before the actual implementation. Also, ifthe minimum requirement is not achievable through one measure, this study can investigate theimpact of applying combined measures for real case scenarios. Furthermore, this researchprovides assessment of the building’s performance under future climate and expected stricterlegislation.2. Literature Review2.1. OverviewThere are relatively a large body of literature about energy consumption in hotelbuildings in different parts of the world. Mainly these studies focus on energy consumption ofthe hotel buildings and measures to improve its energy efficiency. As a prerequisite to thesesets of analyses, it is important to find the parameters with potential impact on the energyconsumption. These elements can be classified in two main groups of physical and operationalparameters. Weather conditions, building fabric specification and the building’s age are among themost important physical parameters while level of facilities provided e.g. having swimming poolsand laundry and also guests’ preferences for indoor environment are among the influencingoperational parameters (Bohdanowicz and Martinac, 2007; Cabello Eras et al., 2016).It is also noteworthy that contrary to many other studies where the energy consumptionin an office, classroom or even domestic spaces are investigated in accordance with a humanfactor e.g. cognitive performance or thermal comfort, the studies about hotels most frequentlyfocus on the energy consumption and/or cost factors rather than a human factor. A summaryof these studies will be presented in the following paragraphs.2.2. Energy consumptions in hotel buildingsThe impact of the weather condition on the hotel energy consumption has been discussedin several studies. The literature suggests that in both hot and cold climate the energyconsumption is higher (Deng and Burnett, 2000; Bohdanowicz and Martinac, 2007;Priyadarsini, Xuchao and Eang, 2009) compared to the milder climate (Rosselló-Batle et al.,2010). In a study on 16 hotels in Hong Kong, the researchers found that the monthly electricityconsumption of the hotel is highly correlated with the monthly mean external temperature,5whereas it was not directly affected by the monthly number of guests (Deng and Burnett, 2000).Also in another study carried out on 45 hotels in Shanghai, the researchers found that whilethere is no strong correlation between energy use intensity (EUI) – energy consumption of thehotel divided by the unit of gross floor area- and the hotel ratings, but in general it follows theoutdoor temperature’s variations, either positively (April to November) or negatively fromDecember to March (Yao, Zhuang and Gu, 2015). Mak et al. (2013) sent out questionnaires to54 four-star hotels in Shanghai to survey the electricity consumption by chillers, among whichonly 13 responses were rated valid. By analysing the data, they found that the externaltemperature and the number of staff have significant impact on chillers energy consumption,although the biggest impact comes from the sizing of the chillers. Sheng et al. (2018) analysedthe energy consumption of 310 five-star hotels in China and devised the EUI benchmarks forthree different climatic zones of China.The impact of the number of hotel staff on energy consumption has also beeninvestigated. A study on 29 quality hotels in Singapore found that staff density and number ofyears passed since the last major retrofit can impact the EUI with Pearson correlation factorlarger than 0.5. The study suggests that this issue can be partly explained by the fact that agreater number of staff is an indication of higher levels of activities running in the hotel(Priyadarsini, Xuchao and Eang, 2009).In another study on 200 Taiwanese hotels with different rates – from international hotelsto bed and breakfast facilities – Wang found that gross floor area is the element with secondhighest correlation factor for total energy consumption and EUI. Whereas the first element foreach of those dependant variables are number of rooms and yearly occupancy rates respectively(Wang, 2012).Although some studies mention the impact of occupancy rates on hotel energyconsumption (Panayiota Pieri, Tzouvadakis and Santamouris, 2015), some other studies reportinability to find a meaningful correlation between occupancy rates and hotel energyconsumption (Lai, 2016). This is partly explained by the fact that for avoiding unpleasantodours, the air conditioning systems will be kept on even when the guest rooms are notoccupied/booked (Deng and Burnett, 2000). Additionally, some studies suggest that the impactof occupancy rates on energy consumptions start to appear when the occupancy drops below70% (Commonwealth of Australia, 2002; Priyadarsini, Xuchao and Eang, 2009).6Although EUI has been traditionally recognised as a benchmark for hotels’ energyconsumption, some studies suggest that due to the variety of factors involved, the EUI cannotbe a meaningful measure anymore (Karagiorgas, Tsoutsos and Moiá-Pol, 2007; Hui and Wan,2013). These studies have called for development of new energy performance indexes. 2.3.Energy efficiency measures in hotelsThe measures for improving the energy efficiency of a hotel building can be classified inthree main groups:I.Energy management: focusing on hotel’s energy efficiency strategies with energyconservation and staff/guests cooperation in perspectiveReducing the cooling and heating demand of the building: focusing on protectingthe building from extreme cold or heatEquipment efficiency: focusing on improving the building’s systems throughII.III. replacing the old/inefficient systems or improving the system operation(Hotel Energy Solutions, 2011).It has been recommended that before deciding on any energy efficiency measures, acomprehensive energy audit should be carried out so that it becomes clear where theinefficiencies occur (Santamouris et al., 1996; Hotel Energy Solutions, 2011; Cabello Eras etal., 2016). Upon discovering the shortcomings, the next step is to investigate the suitablemeasures, as the literature suggests that the choice of energy retrofit measures should be madebased on the size, facilities and local climate (Chen, Ji and Xu, 2012). In a study carried outfor finding cost-effective energy retrofitting measures for different types of hotels in Nepal, theresearchers found that an energy efficient measure proved to be suitable for a hotel in oneclimatic area, may be inefficient (or even harmful) for a hotel in a different climatic zone in thesame country (Bodach, Lang and Auer, 2016). In the light of the expected increase intemperature in future, Salem et al. (2018) found that despite proving useful in reducing theemissions of an existing UK hotel under the current weather situation, the same measures mightno longer contribute to CO2 emissions reductions under the future weather files.2.4. Indoor environment in hotel guest roomsAs mentioned earlier, catering for guests’ comfort and wellbeing is of high importancein hotels. Some studies have stated that guests’ thermal preferences and their subjectiveassessment of indoor environmental quality within the hotel guest rooms impacts the hotelenergy consumption ( Santamouris et al., 1996; Fabi, Andersen and Corgnati, 2013). Theimpact of guests’ preferences for indoor thermal conditions has been discussed in some studies7and it has been claimed that international hotels with guests from different parts of the worldneed to provide wider ranges of thermal comfort levels which will subsequently increase theenergy consumption of the hotel (Wang, 2012; Bodach, Lang and Auer, 2016).In their study of 56 hotel running throughout the year (selected out of a larger group of158 Hellenic hotels), Santamouris et al. investigated occupant thermal comfort throughinterviewing staff, rather than hotel guests. The research investigated thermal comfortconditions during winter and summer times separately and found that hotels with satisfactorythermal conditions during winter time on average consume up to 34.7% more energy while thenumber for corresponding situation during summer is around 10% (Santamouris et al., 1996).Buso, Becchio and Corgnati (2017) investigated the thermal comfort resulting from selectedenergy efficiency retrofitting measures in an Italian reference hotel. The study used theguidelines for category I type of building (High level of expectation for indoor environment)and different set points for heating dominant and cooling dominant time of the year (Buso,Becchio and Corgnati, 2017). The results of the study carried out by Chowdhury, Rasul andKhan (2008) showed that the prediction of thermal comfort by simulation tools are compatiblewith the measured data.Chan et al. carried out an IAQ evaluation for eight new hotels in a fast-developing areaof China during a two-day monitoring campaign. The study found that the IAQ in guest roomswere not satisfactory and compared to older hotels and residential buildings, the IAQ in newhotels is of a lower quality (Chan et al., 2009). In another study, the researchers monitored IAQin four hotels’ guest rooms during July to September in China. The study found that the guestrooms suffered from poor ventilation, with high concentration of CO2 as the indicator. Thestudy suggests that although the particulate matters’ concentration is strongly affected by theexternal concentrations, but the peak values in the guest rooms occur in accordance withoccupants activities (He et al., 2005).3. Methodology3.1 Research ParadigmResearch paradigm can be described as a guiding principle for the research in terms of“general philosophical orientations towards the world and the nature of the research that theresearcher brings to the study” (Creswell and Creswell, 2018, p.5).Regarding the nature of this research, which is scientific research in the engineering fieldof studies, the positivist research paradigm will be followed.83.2. Research designQuantitative research in engineering studies relies to a great extent on modelling andsimulations, and monitoring and measuring equipment (Borrego, Douglas and Amelink, 2009).Within the quantitative design of this research, two sets of actions are considered. The first setinvolves applying specific energy-efficiency retrofitting measures on the existing UK hotels inorder to determine whether the energy performance of the building will be improved and therequirements of the MEES are met. Within this framework there is the need to compare theenergy consumption of the hotel before and after applying the retrofitting measures. As thereare many factors affecting the energy consumption of a hotel such as building size, weatherconditions, building materials’ thermal performance and occupancy rate, the prediction ofenergy consumption needs precise modelling. Current methods in building modelling andpredicting the energy consumptions include “engineering, statistical methods and artificialintelligence methods” (Zhao and Magoulès, 2012, p.3586, Brøgger and Wittchen, 2018).Building modelling and energy simulation tools are among engineering tools. An approvedThermal Analysis Simulation tool (TAS) by Engineering Development Solutions Limited(EDSL) will be used in this research which is fully accredited for the UK Buildings Regulations2013. It also benefits from CIBSE accreditation. By providing the input data such as the hotelbuilding’s geometry and construction material, weather data, operating profiles and the thermalzones, the software will predict energy performance, CO2 emissions and the guests’ thermalcomfort through its different modules. Despite the contributions of energy simulating softwareand TAS reputation as a powerful and precise tool, it is well documented in the literature thatthere is usually a performance gap between the energy consumption predicted by energysimulation tools and the actual one (Rotimi et al., 2017). Among the reasons for thisdiscrepancy, software limitations, inaccurate input data, lack of weather data for the exact siteof the building and inability to determine the buildings’ working schedule are the mostimportant ones (Wang, Paul, & Pang, 2012; Royapoor & Roskilly, 2015). Also software of thiskind, considers the human behaviour to be pre-defined and static, while in reality, humanbehaviour might be completely unpredictable (Fabi, Andersen and Corgnati, 2013). Unrealisticassumptions about human behaviour is one of the main reasons for this gap (Happle, Fonsecaand Schlueter, 2018). In order to minimise the impact of these uncertainties, it is important tovalidate the results from the simulations against the actual consumptions of the hotel wheneverpossible (Bodach, Lang and Auer, 2016).9Any energy efficiency measure needs to have justifiable answers to the “3E-Formula:Energy, Economy and Ecology” to achieve long lasting benefits (Nyers et al., 2015, p:268).Therefore, to assess the cost-effectiveness of the measure, Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA)will be conducted, which is defined as current value of the entire costs of a resource over thetimespan it is in operation which includes the initial capital costs for purchasing andinstallation, operational and maintenance costs and finally the costs for disposing the asset(Addis and Talbot, 2001). The LCCA analysis in this research will be carried out in accordancewith British Standard EN 15459-1:2017 “Energy performance of buildings – Economicevaluation procedure for energy systems in buildings.”The final step in assessing the suitability of a specific measure is to investigate thepotential impacts on guests’ thermal comfort. Thermal comfort is dependent on six factors:• Air temperature• Mean Radiant Temperature (MRT)• Relative Humidity (RH)• Wind speed• Physical activity/metabolism• Clothing insulation(ASHRAE, 2010).Investigating the impact of every measure on any of these six factors helps to comprehendthe potential effect on occupants’ thermal comfort. It is also noteworthy that not every singlemeasure comes with a direct and/or measurable impact on guest thermal comfort.The second part of this study aims to investigating the state of IAQ in selected UK hotelsguestrooms, which incorporates real time monitoring of the IAQ in the chosen guest rooms.The monitoring campaign involves measurements of the major IAQ elements such astemperature, humidity, pollutants concentration e.g. Particulate Matters and VOCs and alsoCO2 concentration as an indication of ventilation rate.As this is a collaborative project, the choice of guestrooms to monitor will depend on Hoconsent and availability of the room. Also, a list of measuring equipment has already been sentout for further approval of the Hilton officials as due to hotel policy, there are restrictions onthe type and size of the equipment that can be put inside the guestrooms.104. EthicsWithin this research personal, legal, and professional engineering ethics will bethoroughly taken into consideration. Furthermore, all University ethical guidelines on researchwill be observed.The software to be used in this research is a licensed EDSL TAS which is provided bythe University. Any required agreements and prearrangements have been established betweenthe University and Environmental Design Solution limited company. Sufficient time is goingto be allocated for training on TAS to ensure accuracy and rigour of the generated model(s)and results obtained. The simulation study has been conducted for engineering applications andtherefore entails consideration of codes of ethics in engineering. Thus, the following will becompletely avoided throughout the entire research:• Fabrication• Falsification• Plagiarism• And any elements associated with misconduct.All data collected and utilised during this research will be protected in line with the DataProtection Act 2018.The UWL Research Ethics application form has been submitted.“SCHOOL OF COMPUTING & ENGINEERING / Reference id.:XXXXXX5. TimelineThe Gantt chart for the research is provided in figure 1.11Figure 1. Gantt chart for the research timeline12ReferencesAddis, B. and Talbot, R. (2001) Sustainable Construction Procurement: A Guide to DeliveringEnvironmentally Responsible Projects. UK: Construction Industry Research & InformationAssociation (CIRIA). Available at:, (2010). ASHRAE Standard 55-2010 Thermal Environmental Conditions for HumanOccupancy. Atlanta: ASHRAEBodach, S., Lang, W. and Auer, T. (2016) ‘Design guidelines for energy-efficient hotels inNepal’, International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment. 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