YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK—California’s LodgingSavers program is going strong after just one year in operation. Introduced at last fall’s California Lodging Expo, it now has approximately 150 participants, including several properties in Yosemite National Park that are managed by Delaware North Companies (DNC). LodgingSavers is implemented by Ecology Action, Santa Cruz, Calif., and funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. LodgingSavers is open to properties throughout California that are serviced by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E).
According to Aaron Glade, program specialist for Ecology Action, LodgingSavers is attractive to hoteliers because of the huge potential to reduce costs and save energy. Available rebates cover up to 60 to 80 percent or more of lighting costs, 100 percent of guestroom energy management system costs, and all of the costs for vending machine controllers, low-flow showerheads and aerators. Lodging Savers also covers the difference in cost between a standard PTAC and a highly efficient one. Many products, including more than 100 lighting options, are eligible to be installed.
“Oftentimes, we will see a job costing $20,000 to complete but the cost to the hotel owner will be just a few hundred dollars,” Glade says.
Survey Starts Process
Participants in LodgingSavers first undergo a free energy survey to determine opportunities for energy and cost savings. A contractor, Tustin, Calif.-based Progressive Lighting & Energy Solutions Inc., does the installations. After the installations have been completed, Ecology Action does a final inspection. LodgingSavers rebates are paid direct to the contractor.
“It simplifies the process for the property owner and reduces the capital outlay to get the project completed,” Glade says.
Earlier this year, DNC contacted PG&E to learn about rebate programs. The company, which is ISO 14001 certified, was in search of a way to retrofit existing lighting at its managed properties. It was then put in touch with Ecology Action. A survey was done at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, Curry Village, the Ahwahnee Hotel, and Wawona Hotel—all in the Yosemite National Park area. It was determined that the properties would benefit significantly from a lighting upgrade.
Lighting changes at the four aforementioned Yosemite properties included the replacement of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, T-12s with T-8s, and magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts. Soda and snack vending machine controllers were also installed to further reduce energy consumption. Glade emphasized that all old lighting removed from the properties is being disposed of safely.
Significant Energy, Cost Savings
Mark Gallagher, resource manager for DNC, says the lighting and vending machine changes are about 95 percent complete. The installations are expected to save more than 900,000 kilowatt-hours of energy consumption and $129,962 annually. The total investment for DNC was just $19,132 and the return on investment just two months.
In addition to the park properties mentioned above, employee housing areas and the Cedar Lodge and Yosemite View Lodge also are participating in LodgingSavers. Cedar Lodge and Yosemite View Lodge, just outside of Yosemite National Park, were the recipients of free guestroom energy management systems.
“The program has worked out very well for California,” Glade says. “DNC is very pleased with how things have gone.”
“It has proven to be a good experience,” Gallagher adds. “We will benefit from reduced energy costs. The environment will benefit from fewer emissions. We will also benefit by increasing guest awareness. It is a win-win for everyone.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.