For several weeks now, in the gardens of the Novotel Lausanne Bussigny, a metal flower has been extending its solar petals towards the sun, which it constantly follows to ensure it doesn’t miss a single ray of sunlight.
This is a first in Switzerland and for AccorHotels! A smartflower follows the sun’s position to absorb as much energy as possible, which it then converts into electricity. Installed in the gardens of the Novotel Lausanne Bussigny hotel, this solar flower produces between 3500 and 4500 kWh per annum, making it possible to reduce CO2 emissions by a tonne each year.
“In much the same way as a sunflower would, the flower opens its corolla at dawn and follows the sun’s path until dusk, to capture as much energy as possible. It achieves this thanks to a GPS system,” explains Alexandre Barbier, AccorInvest Switzerland Maintenance Engineer.
Once again, the Novotel Lausanne Bussigny hotel is a role model as regard to sustainable development and energy performance. This time, with a solar flower growing right next to the vegetable patch in the hotel gardens, combining an attractive appearance with advanced technology. Interview with the hotel manager, Franck Fleury.
Why has this flower been installed?
During the renovation in 2008, we opted for greener and smarter solutions. In addition to the creation of a natural swimming pool, one of the building’s floors was constructed using sustainable materials and is equipped with water and heat recovery systems. Our hotel is today a showcase for sustainable development, and we are taking our commitment further in the frame of the Planet21 programme, with the creation a year ago of a 50m2 vegetable garden covering some of our food requirements.
With the smartflower,I was looking for an emblematic feature, which would be both innovative and clearly visible.
What gave you the idea?
I had been searching for a sustainable and innovative energy generator for a while.
The idea for the “smartflower” came about during an interview and a brainstorming session with Yvan Mandia, our district’s energy manager.
The smartflower combines high technology and an attractive appearance, proposing an innovative self-consumption solution. Its twelve petals provide a total solar surface area of 18 m2 for optimal performance. This smartflower is surprisingly elegant, and takes pride of place in our garden along with our natural bathing pool.
What are your plans for the future?To keep moving forward. The ultimate goal would be to become self-sufficient. We have lots of other plans, including fitting solar panels on our rooftops but also being heated from the waste sorting and incineration centre which is not very far from our hotel.
4 facts you need to know about the smartflower
Thanks to its solar tracker system, the smartflower follows the sun’s path in the same way that a sunflower would. It moves thanks to a dual horizontal and vertical axis system, allowing it to maximise output and to produce up to 40% more energy than an equivalent roof-mounted solution.
Speed and mobility
With its novel “Plug&Play” system, this solar flower makes it possible to directly consume the electricity produced on-site in a simple and straightforward way with no major installation work required on the roof.
The smartflower is equipped with an automatic smart cleaning system for the petals, to ensure optimal production at all times. The petals are equipped with specially-adapted brushes, allowing them to clean themselves each time they open and close.
Always safe and secure
To protect itself from bad weather, the smartflower automatically folds in its petals in high winds. It opens them out again when the wind drops.
As a reminder, we have made buildings one of the six key themes of our Planet 21 programme, which includes the ambition of reducing water and energy consumption, thereby reducing ours hotels’ carbon footprint.