Whitbread has started the construction of the first ‘all-electric’ Premier Inn hotel in Swindon Town Centre, England.
The five-storey 195-bedroom hotel is the first Premier Inn to be designed without a connection to a natural gas supply. Instead, the hotel will be fully heated and powered by grid energy generated from renewable sources and by on-site photovoltaic cells.
A suite of energy and heat recovery systems, including air-source heat pumps and a new water-heating technology from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will also be included in the thermally efficient hotel building.
Whitbread, which owns and operates a network of more than 840 budget hotels in the United Kingdom and Ireland, has highlighted the importance of removing natural gas from its estate in achieving its target of net zero emissions by 2040.
The first green Premier Inn hotel opened at Tamworth in Staffordshire in 2008, achieving 80% less energy than a standard Premier Inn. Since then, Whitbread has designed and operated several industry-leading water and energy efficient hotels across the UK including at Burgess Hill, Sussex, and Covent Garden in Central London.
All newbuild Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn hotels are currently built to a minimum BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard. In its trading estate, all Whitbread-owned hotels in the United Kingdom have been powered by 100% renewable sources since April 2017.
If we are to achieve our target of becoming a net zero business by 2040 we need to find a replacement for natural gas across our estate. This is a considerable challenge as we rely on natural gas to heat water in our network of hotels and power many of our restaurant kitchens across the country. The new all-electric Premier Inn is designed to give us everything we need to run an operationally successful hotel. A combination of a thermally efficient building and on-site energy recovering and generating systems has given us the confidence to remove fossil fuels from the new Premier Inn. It is a bold and necessary proof of concept which has the potential to inform the specification of our newbuild hotels. With more than 82,000 rooms currently available for our customers across the UK and Ireland, and the potential to grow our network to 110,000 rooms in time, the impact of what we will learn from the all-electric hotel is huge.
Alex Flach, UK Development Director of Whitbread