Home Publisher's Point of View Holiday Season Brought LED Windfall for Boston Area Hotels

Holiday Season Brought LED Windfall for Boston Area Hotels

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In the words of Jeff Hanulec, director of engineering at the Sheraton Boston, “It was a no brainer to participate in the program.” What Jeff is referring to is an LED lamp giveaway program offered by Massachusetts utility NSTAR in partnership with Munro Distributing Company, Inc. The program, which began in the fall of 2011 and officially wrapped up at the end December, is expected to be continued in 2012. Boston area hotels are the first to participate in the program that is already generating huge chunks of savings in energy and dollars. The NSTAR/Munro program is proof that it pays to maintain steady communication with your utility regarding rebate and other incentive programs. The program is also a testament to the viability of LEDs in hotel applications.

At the 1,220-room Sheraton Boston, the hotel already has received 1,600 bulbs—$70,000 worth—as part of the program. The bulbs have been installed in the main lobby, in a main entrance area, in guestroom entrance areas, and in a restaurant. “It has had a huge impact,” Hanulec says. “Light levels have increased and, in some cases, bulb wattages have decreased from 100 to 18.”

At the 424-room InterContinental Boston, an audit of the entire hotel’s lighting revealed there were 18,600 bulbs that qualified for replacements. According to Vasco Foster, director of engineering at the hotel, as part of the retrofit, 116 50 watt MR 16s per floor were replaced with 6 watt MR 20s. One hundred watt PAR 38s were replaced with 18 watt LED equivalents. In guestrooms, 65 watt incandescent bulbs were replaced with 12.5 watt A 19 bulbs.

Bulb Replacement a Challenge

“We are looking for 1.9 million kWh a year in energy savings,” Foster says. “We expect to have a 20 to 24 percent total savings in electricity next year.” Replacing 18,600 bulbs was a bit of a logistical challenge. “That took a lot of meetings, coordination, scheduling, and coming up with a game plan,” Foster says. “We met with all of our engineers. We worked around the clock to get it done.”

In addition to reducing energy consumption and dollars spent, participating hotels will benefit in other ways from the program—longer bulb life which will reduce maintenance-related costs and guest complaints, the bulbs are recyclable and dimmable, and in some instances the LEDs offer higher quality lighting than the bulbs they have replaced.

“We’ve got about 15 hotels completed and 15 to 20 projects in the installation process,” says Noah Thompson, business development manager, Munro Distributing. “Another 25 to 30 hotels are in the mockup or approval process.”

Thompson says 75,000 lamps already have been given away. That number was expected to hit 100,000 by the end of 2011. Those lamps are expected to reduce the lighting-related energy load of Boston hotels by 10 million kWh.

The bulb giveaway program is just one of NSTAR’s many initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of residences and businesses in Massachusetts. In the past five years, NSTAR’s energy efficiency programs have helped customers save 6.5 million therms of natural gas and 800,000 megawatt hours of electricity. This is the equivalent of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by half a million tons.

Be sure to check with your utility for information on how you can save energy and money in 2012. Click here for a database of state incentives for renewable and efficiency.

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Have a very happy new year!

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