In a resort with 390 rooms spread over 1,200 acres, even a job as simple as changing a light bulb takes time. And with incandescent bulbs in each guest room at Silverado Resort and Spa, it was a never-ending job. That is just one of the reasons that in 2013, Dean Luchetta and the engineering team at Silverado began switching out the light bulbs in every guest room to more energy-efficient LED bulbs, reducing labor costs as well as energy costs.
Energy-efficient bulbs cost more than incandescent bulbs, but they also last much longer: LEDs provide an estimated 50,000 hours per bulb, compared to incandescent bulbs’ measly average of 1,200 hours.They also provide light more efficiently. Home improvement store Lowe's studied electricity costs of an LED vs. an incandescent bulb and found that LEDs use less power (watts): $30 over the bulb's 22-year lifespan versus $165 for an incandescent bulb (or bulbs) over that same period. Effective this year, as a result of federal rules encouraging the switch to more energy-efficient bulbs, the U.S. is no longer manufacturing or importing incandescent bulbs—although stores can still sell what they have in stock.
Changing out light bulbs throughout the property was just a start for Silverado Resort. LodgingSavers, a program administered by Ecology Action that provides consulting and rebates to commercial PG&E hotel and lodging customers, conducted a free, comprehensive energy survey of the property and made a number of additional recommendations for upgrades. LodgingSavers pre-screens contractors and saves its partners time by providing detailed measure specification, coordination and quality verification. It also pays rebates directly to the contractor to minimize a hotel’s capital outlay. Rebates are calculated on the energy savings the customer may realize by implementing the more efficient technology recommended by an energy efficiency specialist. “Our interest is in helping our customers become more energy efficient by helping them address environmental concerns while reducing operation costs,” said Faye M. Rachford, energy advocate for the LodgingSavers program.
In addition to working with LodgingSavers, Silverado Resort also brought in Commercial Energy of Oakland to conduct an independent energy assessment. By implementing the recommendations of the two groups, Silverado Resort expects to save thousands of dollars. Some changes were not self-evident—for example, changing motors to variable speed drives, which means they can now slow down when spaces like the pool, walk-in cooler or exhaust fan are not in use. Kitchens use a lot of energy; with the help of Executive Steward Ray Jacquez, significant energy improvements are being implemented there. New energy-efficient Rational ovens have 30 percent more capacity and are expected to save 25 to 50 percent in gas usage. Walk-in coolers and freezers are now equipped with strip curtains, a simple but effective way of keeping temperatures controlled inside.
Silverado Resort has also made big strides in its recycling and composting program. Based on numbers from Napa Recycling & Waste Services, the resort diverted approximately 40 tons of recycled materials and compost from landfill in 2013. In fact, Silverado Resort was recognized by Congressman Mike Thompson, State Senator Lois Wolk and State Assemblymember Mariko Yamada for filling over 2,080 65-gallon containers with recyclable materials as well as more than 1,320 95-gallon containers with materials for composting over the course of a year.
“I am very pleased with the initiative and the progress we have made,” said John Evans, managing director for Silverado Resort and Spa. “Combined, the changes we are implementing at Silverado Resort will save upward of $60,000 over five years,” added Evans. “We will benefit from reduced energy costs and the environment will benefit from fewer emissions. It’s a win-win.”
To find out more about the LodgingSavers program, call 1-888-846-5050 or send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.