Solar-thermal innovation for iconic London hotel

Low-profile solar collectors installed in two columns of horizontal rows on exterior of building up near roof level.

Located just a short walk from Harrods in Knightsbridge, with views over Hyde Park, an iconic London hotel has partnered with a leading solar-thermal manufacturer to invest in cutting-edge heat decarbonisation.

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has become the first British hotel to employ the innovative VirtuHOT technology from Naked Energy, with 120 solar-thermal collectors now in use at rooftop level.

The installation will advance the hotel further along its journey toward net zero by helping to decarbonise its heating, providing sanitary hot water for its 181 luxury guest rooms, award-winning restaurants and spa. 

The project will generate over 39,000kWh of energy per year, displacing natural gas consumption and shrinking the landmark building’s twelvemonth carbon footprint by 7.3 tonnes. This reduction in Scope 1 emissions is equivalent to the annual carbon sequestration benefits of over 292 mature trees.

Tackling high energy usage in hospitality

Front elevation of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel in London, illuminated at twilight, with red London bus and black cab taxis in foreground.

Hotels are well known for requiring a high amount of energy to operate. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 70% of their total energy consumption is spent on heating and hot water.

In response, the Naked Energy installation at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London marks an innovative approach to decarbonising sector-wide high heat demand, setting a clean-energy benchmark for hospitality.

The unique modular design of the pioneering Virtu collector makes it the world’s highest energy-density solar-heat technology, estimated to reduce more than three times the greenhouse gases per square metre, when compared to traditional solar PV (photovoltaic) panels.

The collectors can generate solar heat up to 120°C and carry gold standard TÜV Rheinland certification.

Low-profile design offers architectural solution

The project is not only important from a technology point of view, but is significant in design terms, too.

One of the city’s most recognisable hotels with a 120-year history, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London reopened in 2019 following an extensive multi-million-pound restoration.

Crucially, the low-profile design of Naked Energy’s collectors offers minimal disruption to the building’s architecture, circumventing an ongoing challenge for other properties surrounding Hyde Park.

Given the prestigious nature of the property, this statement scheme can set an influential precedent for decarbonisation of the hospitality sector, says Christophe Williams, Co-Founder and CEO of Naked Energy:

“The building has a long and storied history, and we’re delighted to now help it meet its sustainability goals and control energy costs. This project is an exciting step forward for the solar heat industry in the UK. We hope other hoteliers will follow in Mandarin Oriental’s footsteps to move away from fossil fuels and change their energy consumption for good.”

The tech represents a perfect fit for the future environmental aspirations of the hotel, concludes Torsten van Dullemen, General Manager of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London:

“Naked Energy’s remarkable solar technology aligns seamlessly with our hotel’s core commitment to the wellbeing of our planet, of our community, and our staff and guests. We’re designing a cutting-edge hotel experience that is built for the future we want to live in. We hope this installation serves as a blueprint to inspire other hoteliers in London to prioritise their renewable goals and join us in creating a cleaner, more sustainable tomorrow.”

Re-imagined, re-invented, and now re-energised

Sitting between glorious Royal Parkland and the buzz of central Knightsbridge, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has been re-imagined and re-invented.

As part of the most-extensive multi-million-pound restoration in the hotel’s history, internationally renowned designer Joyce Wang, oversaw the new design of all the rooms, suites and public areas, inspired by the natural beauty of neighbouring Hyde Park and the glamour of the 20th century Golden Age of travel.

The redesign of The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, London along with reworking of the hotel’s destination restaurants and Mandarin Bar, were directed by esteemed New York designer Adam D Tihany.

Naked Energy is a British design and engineering business, in the vanguard of global innovation in solar thermal and solar photovoltaic thermal (PVT).

Its mission is to change energy for good, by displacing fossil fuels in global commercial and industrial buildings through deployment of high-impact, cost-effective and versatile solar heat and power.

Naked Energy’s solar PVT technology offers the capability to deliver up to four times the carbon savings per square metre, in comparison to conventional solar PV.

Further Reading:

Check out the full archive of stories on the SustMeme Built Environment Channel, Sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric Living Environmental Systems UK.