Who would have imagined that an investment in new energy-efficient lights could lead to a whole new way of thinking about energy management?
As Maintenance Manager at the Best Western PLUS Hotel & Conference Centre in Thunder Bay, Ryan Meservia was always looking for ways to save on energy, more efficient boiler systems, energy-efficient kitchen and laundry equipment and pumps. However, that was big-picture equipment.
“We are a full-service hotel with 90 guest rooms, seven conference facilities, a restaurant, large indoor pool, whirlpool, saunas, steam rooms and fitness centre, so we have high-intensity energy needs. To use more efficient lighting in all of these areas would not only be energy efficient but cost-effective,” says Meservia.
As a large facility in Northern Ontario with limited daylight hours in the winter, outdoor lighting is a major ongoing expense for the facility. After consulting with Thunder Bay Hydro about the Save on Energy program, Meservia tackled the outside upgrade first.
The outdoor conversion included the installation of new lighting in the parking lots, wall sconces, walkway and balconies. “There is no doubt about the positive results. The new lighting has not only enhanced the building but the brighter lights have made the property safer for guests and staff, which is always our priority,” says Meservia. He credits this outdoor lighting retrofit as the driving force behind a sustained daily commitment to energy management.
Having seen the difference the upgrade to energy-efficient lighting was making to the hotel’s bottom line – annual cost savings of approximately $12,800 – Meservia enlisted the help of Best Western staff to identify other energy efficiency opportunities. “Regularly sitting down with department managers to discuss ongoing strategies is vital to day-to-day operations.”
For example, ensuring that be guest room PTAC units are running only when necessary and at the proper temperature levels. By monitoring equipment in the entire building and by calculating his daily electricity spend, Meservia is able to make informed decisions about the next energy investment for the facility. “It takes a team effort and daily due diligence in order to achieve energy savings. We get results because we educate the staff on the importance of energy efficiency.”