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Customer application 10 March 2020
The Blu Hotel Turns Green

The Radisson Hotel Group in Germany is undertaking a comprehensive modernization and modification of its buildings.

This work has already been completed in Cologne, resulting in lower energy consumption levels and greater guest comfort. An open building automation system in the Blu Hotel now enables a more controlled, coordinated interplay of heating, ventilation, sun shades and lighting.

Energy-Efficient Building Automation

  • Flexibility for Modernizing Existing Buildings with Open Automation Solutions from WAGO


  • The modular structure of WAGO controllers allows for new room automation functions.

Due to aging building technology and structural restrictions, the modernization of existing buildings demands that designers be flexible and willing to improvise. The Radisson Blu Hotel project in Cologne is an excellent example: Although the building was constructed in the mid-1990s and designed as a hotel from the start, “even the best technology, even with the best maintenance, eventually runs its course,” says Detlef Brunke, managing partner of DBU Planungs- und Projektmanagement GmbH. For this reason, the building technology of the Radisson Blu was subjected to a fundamental rejuvenation – which was accomplished during ongoing operations, on schedule and on budget.

“We wanted to implement something innovative – a sustainable and cost-optimized solution for the investor Pandox, instead of simply replacing old technology with new,” says Brunke, recalling the initial planning. A fundamental goal of the modernization was replacing the building management system (BMS) and connecting the hotel rooms to the new BMS. “We had originally intended to set up a new network using WAGO controllers,” explains Ingo Andrä, project manager for ICE technology and building automation at Kynast Elektroanlagen. This company was awarded the contract to implement the building automation that DBU designed. However, a substantial problem arose because ETHERNET was not available for a distributed I/O system. Fire safety considerations meant that a TCP/IP network could not be retrofitted. The ETHERNET cables would have to be run through the hallways – and then only in specific fire protection ducts. “That was simply not acceptable here,” recalls Ingo Andrä.

Resource Conservation as the Main Goal in Building Automation

For the connection to the higher-level BLS, only the two-wire connections from the LON® network that had originally been installed were available. “We were able to use that for BacNet TP,” explains Steffen Poranski, an ICE programmer at Kynast. Even though everyone involved in the project would have preferred a stronger bus system, “two wires still gave us enough freedom to take a large step toward sustainable building automation.”

The primary concern in the Radisson Blu project was to increase energy efficiency and guest comfort. Specifically, this meant better control of the heating, ventilation, blinds and lighting in the hotel rooms. It also meant the hotel had to operate more efficiently, with a greater emphasis on conserving resources. “Thanks to the new control technology, we can see which buildings within the group of companies have the lowest energy consumption, how much water and primary energy are consumed, and what shape the sun shades are in,” says Marcus Moll, providing examples. In addition, presence sensors ensure that rooms run in an energy-optimized mode when vacant. The base temperature is maintained by the central BMS, and the ventilation levels are dialed back.

MM-13435 Reference Story Radisson Blu_1_2000x1125.jpg

Modern automation technology provides the perfect lighting and climate in hotel rooms.

Connecting the BMS to the hotel reservation system makes essential status information available at the reception desk for each room. For example, if the room key is not inserted into the card switch, the lights won’t work. If the guest calls reception because they have not noticed the card switch, then the system shows the hotel employee that the switch has not been activated. “We can quickly help our guests and don’t have to run through the entire building every time,” says Marcus Moll, technical director of the Radisson Blu Hotel Cologne, with satisfaction.

Tailored Modernization According to Plan – with WAGO

To keep the 365 rooms habitable even without a central BMS, a WAGO 750-829 BACnet MS/TP Controller is used in each individual room. It is configured so that it can autonomously control the room, without access to the central network, and offers guests defined setting options. The input and output cards are assigned to the BACnet bus so they can be addressed directly. This independence was crucial in allowing the hotel rooms to be modernized gradually, taking for the Radisson Blu’s reservation level into account.

In addition, the conversion was done without back-coupling to the old network, which remained in operation until the modernization work was completed. “We didn’t plug the BACnet MS/TP bus connection into the controller until every room on a given communication strand had been converted. That was up to 55 rooms per line,” explains project manager Ingo Andrä. For the new connection to the updated BMS, Kynast replaced the existing LON® gateways with two MS/TP routers per floor.

Collaborating on modernization: Detlef Brunke of DBU Planungs- und Projektmanagement GmbH; Marcus Moll of the Radisson Blu Hotel Cologne; and Ingo Andrä and Steffen Poranski of Kynast Elektroanlagen.

The BACnet controller was installed in the existing control cabinets from the original installation. Even today, it is situated behind a closet wall, which meant work occurred in a very cramped space. However, the conversion to the state-of-the-art WAGO technology took just about two hours per room, because the “retrofitting kit” was delivered ready-to-install. Overall, a half year was required for modernizing the room automation, all while accommodating large conferences and trade shows, for which all rooms were rented out.

Due to negative experiences with proprietary systems, we specifically chose an open industry solution in Cologne.

Detlef Brunke, DBU Planungs- und Projektmanagement GmbH

Open Automation with Clear Benefits

In addition to the individual rooms, there was another modernization level at the Radisson Blu: a second DDC level, for which WAGO controllers were also used. The BACnet version of the PFC200 provides the room visualization and also offers the building technology quick access to the individual room controllers, independent of the central BMS. The visualization that is integrated into WAGO’s PFC200 is based on HTML5 and can be opened in any browser.

“Due to negative experiences with proprietary systems, we specifically chose an open industry solution in Cologne,” explains Detlef Brunke. Those experiences led all of the project partners to mainly choose WAGO controllers for the upgrades. Due to the high degree of standardization, the hotel operators and building owners could be equally certain that replacement parts, expansion components and, most importantly, technical support would be available for many years.

The modernization of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cologne demonstrates how powerful building automation can retrofitted even if structural restrictions lead to serious limitations, particularly for communication. In this case, WAGO controllers form platform that provides maximum intelligence on site. This reduces the data volume on the previous LON® bus, with its severely restricted bandwidth. The modular structure of the WAGO controllers also provides wide-ranging possibilities for adding new room automation functions.

Text: Stephan Lampe, WAGO
Photo: Radisson Blu Hotel, Cologne, Thorsten Sienk

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