In 2006, we developed a unique gravity based solar water heater system, using locally available parts. After a year of research, tests and adjustments we installed this system in most of the bathrooms of the Pavilion, Kabiki, and Blue Lime. In 2009, we started a more ambitious research project, the development of a globally carbon neutral hotel concept, including solar powered air-conditioning and lighting.
How it works
To avoid any physical and ecological impact on the site, we decided to go for a floating structure. When removed, this option leaves no traces behind and prevents using local people’s or wildlife’s living spaces.
With a strong energy saving objective, the project redefines the essential energy needs of a tourist in a tropical country hotel. Mainly, we restricted the air-cooling to acceptable limits, i.e. without affecting too much comfort:
- air-cooling when really needed, 8 hours at night (guest out for daytime visits);
- air-cooling where really needed, concentrated within the space of the bed's mosquito net (wasted outside).
Dividing the usage duration by 3 and the volume by 10 allowed us to consider the sun as a possible energy source.
In order to avoid using highly polluting deep-cycle batteries, energy is stored by cooling water reserves when the sun is shining. At night, the cold water tank then cools the air inside the space confined by the mosquito net.
The river flowing under the bungalow cools the air-conditioning heat-exchangers with a much higher efficiency than the air blown by the fan of a conventional external split unit.
A first prototype has been completed after two years of efforts and with the help of interns from Ecole Centrale of Lyon and the National Polythechnic Institute of Cambodia.
We are now looking for a financial partner to further develop this project to an operating zero-emission floating hotel. It would be the first of its kind in Indochina.