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First all-electric Premier Inn hotel powered entirely by renewables opens in Swindon

16 Oct 2023 Brand, Community, Estate, Sustainability

1 Swindon Leader And Team Ribbon Cut 3 16th October 2023

●  New hotel designed to operate without a connection to mains gas supply, powered entirely by renewable electricity. All new-build Premier Inns to be built to this specification from 2026.

●    Learnings from design and operation to inform emissions-reducing retrofit of Premier Inn estate – the goal being to remove mains gas connections from the estate by 2040.

●    Hotel to offer significant economic benefits to Swindon, with each Premier Inn hotel driving an average of £3.3 million in guest spending annually.

Whitbread PLC, the UK’s largest hospitality group and owner of Premier Inn, today announced the opening of Premier Inn Swindon Town Centre – the first of a new generation of new-build Premier Inn hotels that will operate with 100% renewable energy.

Learnings from the hotel’s design and operation will inform an emissions-reducing strategy for Premier Inn’s hotel estate across the UK and Ireland and will contribute to Whitbread’s target to remove mains gas connections across its estate by 2040 wherever possible.

The hotel’s innovative features include:

  • An energy-efficient air-to-water Mitsubishi Q-Ton CO2 Heat Pump to heat water, low energy LED lighting with lighting controls and metering connected to a battery monitoring system with auto monitoring and targeting of energy use.
  • Solar photovoltaic panels installed on-site, with the hotel to purchase only renewable electricity from the grid – in line with all of Whitbread’s owned operations in the UK and Germany.
  • A building envelope designed to meet BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standards, using an innovative Passivhaus-influenced ‘fabric first’ design to optimise energy use.
  • Minimised heat exchange with the outside through the use of natural sunlight and re-use of heat generated by electrical equipment.
  • Mechanical ventilation with passive heat recovery and an air source heat pump to keep the building at an optimal temperature in all seasons.

Premier Inn, Swindon Town Centre has been shortlisted for Built Environment Project of the Year in Edie’s Net Zero Awards.

Richard Aldread, head of construction in the UK regions and Ireland for Whitbread, said:

“By welcoming guests to our first all-electric budget hotel in the UK, we are opening the doors on the future. Swindon’s 100% renewably powered Premier Inn shows that sustainability and affordability can be two sides of the same coin and is part of a string of investments in innovative, sustainable properties at Whitbread.

“We have ambitious plans to expand the number of Premier Inn bedrooms towards our long-term potential of 125,000 rooms in the UK and Ireland, up from 83,500 currently, and this should not happen at the expense of net zero commitments.

“Premier Inn Swindon Town Centre is our first all-electric hotel without connection to a mains gas supply and is the culmination of years of hard work and commitment to designing and operating lower-carbon hotels – which has helped us reduce direct operational emissions by over 50% since 2016. It represents a significant milestone as we endeavour to bring our operational emissions to zero by 2040.”

Jim Robbins, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, said:

“One of our roles as a Council is to attract investment into Swindon town centre, which we can do by leveraging the Council-owned buildings and land and investing in projects that help to attract businesses to invest here.

“I’m proud to see Whitbread take the lead and invest directly in Swindon with a large new sustainable hotel on a site that was once an old Council office building, especially as it aligns with our own Achieve Net Zero Mission.

“Its all-electric design shows what can be achieved even in tight town centre locations and I hope the new hotel encourages other investors and developers in Swindon to follow suit and invest in low carbon design elsewhere in the town centre.”

Premier Inn Swindon marks a significant milestone towards Whitbread’s commitment to reaching a position of no operational emissions by 2040 and net zero by 2050 – with its targets approved by the gold standard Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

Whitbread’s Force for Good sustainability programme is focused on enabling people to live and work well, while also protecting the environment on which we all depend.

In addition to the environmental benefits of the new development, the Premier Inn Swindon Town Centre hotel opens its doors with 46 team members employed, many of whom were recruited from the local area and were out of work before joining Whitbread.

As they readied the hotel for opening, the team undertook over 160 hours of volunteer work with the Salvation Army in Swindon to tidy, replant and repaint the gardens, workshop and emergency accommodation at Booth House in the town.

The team has also raised more than £1,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH), Whitbread’s national charity partner in the UK, with fundraising ongoing.

3 Team Gathering Around Terminals
The Premier Inn Swindon Town Centre hotel opened its doors employing 46 people.

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