Puyehue Wellness & Spa Resort commited to renewable energies

Monday, 26 de September

Wellness for the host and the environment

  • Three years ago the Hotel Termas de Puyehue developed a geothermal energy project that allowed them to take advantage of the hot springs for room heating and hot water, reducing fossil fuel consumption by 75% from 2010 to date. The executive director of the complex, Kees Aerts, said that in addition to reducing pollution drastically this new system has brought many benefits to their business.

It is paradoxical, but the vast majority of spring water spas of our country use wood, diesel or gas to heat their dependencies. Paradoxical, because many of them have available hot water that could be used to generate clean and self-sufficient heating. Aware of the many benefits of geothermal, major shareholders of Termas Puyehue Wellness & Spa Resort decided to invest in
a project that used the benefits of thermal water beyond its use in pools, extending its potential with underfloor heating of two thirds of their hotel.

Termas Puyehue Wellness & SPA Resort is the first all inclusive in Chile, and furthermore, the only thermal complex of our country that uses the geothermal energy taking advantage of the water temperature for direct uses (different from bathing). Being located inside a National Park (Puyehue National Park), named a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the decision to develope a clean and renewable energy option as geothermal made sense with their local environment and sustainability culture that the resort projects. “The main shareholders of the resort are Chilean-German and knew of geothermal and its clean virtues”, says Kees Aerts, executive director of the hotel, and adds, “This change in infrastructure is highly valued by the public, because it implies that natural resources are well used and at the same time it takes greater care of the environment”. The resort also has a hydroelectric turbine that supplies them about 40% of its electricity needs.

Farsighted investment
According to a study for the implementation of this project, there was a surplus of three to eight liters of water per second that could be exploited for heating purposes, which was equivalent to a heat capacity for the heating of the floor of the building that went from 350 to 800kW in summer or 130-300 kW in winter.

The geothermal system designed for the complex involved the replacement of uninsulated supply pipes, the division of the heating circuits of low temperature on the floor on two central heating plants, installation of plate heat exchangers filled with water for the supply of heating systems in the floor and a radiator circuit, including appropriate control technologies, and a control system of hot springs.

The work involved an investment of nearly US$400.000 and had several partners: Geothermie Neubrandenburg GmbH, GTNLA and Fundación Chile. “This project has involved multiple benefits, we have clean, continuous heating for 24 hours, there has been a saving of fossil fuels because we stopped burning about 130,000 gallons of diesel and 45 gallons of gas per year, plus the periodic maintenance, corrective and preventive for boilers was limited to one per year”, says Aerts.
While the capital cost of a project like this is relatively high, this type of heating systems based on geothermal immediately generate savings that can recover the investment quickly. In the case of Puyehue Hotel has meant a saving in fossil fuels of US$170.000 annually, which means that in less than three years, the initial investment is rewarded.

Project partners & cooperation

Geothermie Neubrandenburg GmbH (GTN) – http://www.gtn-online.de/
GTNLA – http://www.gtnla.cl/
Fundación Chile – http://www.fundacionchile.com/

In cooperation with:
Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (SERNAGEOMIN) – http://www.sernageomin.cl/
Universidad de Chile – http://www.cega.ing.uchile.cl
Termas Puyehue Wellness & SPA Resort – http://www.puyehue.cl/

Text: sotero@ing.uchile.cl