SAN DIEGO—In alignment with California’s electrification goals that phase out gas-fired water heating appliances in the coming years, Sonesta International Hotels Corp. is working with Willdan Energy Solutions to take advantage of utility incentives available from Southern California Edison (SCE) through Willdan’s Commercial Energy Efficiency Program.
SCE has contracted with Willdan Energy Solutions to develop, implement, and offer the energy efficiency program to SCE customers. It provides comprehensive consultations, technical expertise, financing options, and energy-efficient upgrades. Willdan also sets the rebate amount.
According to Dave Campbell, Regional Director of Engineering for Sonesta, about a half-dozen Sonesta hotels in Southern California have benefited from the SCE programs and have gotten new A.O. Smith Corp. CHP-120 heat pump water heaters. Rebates of up to $18,000 per water heater are available—enough to cover the cost of each heater. (See flyer for more information on the water heater rebate program.)
Highly Efficient Heating Process
Campbell says the CHP-120 heat pump water heaters are replacing boilers that were old and inefficient. The A.O. Smith heat pump takes heat from the outside air and puts it into the water. The byproduct is cool air—a benefit Campbell says he has been able to take advantage of in at least one hotel in the laundry room. “I have been able to turn down the AC in the laundry room,” he says.
At one property, 14 gas-fired water heaters were replaced. Campbell says the utility rebate makes switching a no brainer. Any maintenance related to natural gas is also eliminated.
“[The rebate program] is helpful for some of the smaller hotels that don’t have the labor available,” Campbell explains.
Michelle Villa, Outreach Manager at Willdan Energy Solutions, says water heaters are the low-hanging fruit of electrification, adding that her company’s Rapid Rebates also cover items for areas including lighting, refrigeration, HVAC, kitchen hood ventilation, and more.
The Importance of Available Power & Space
Campbell says he has worked with Willdan Energy Solutions, San Diego Gas & Electric and other programs to switch out aging fixtures and equipment—in each case receiving an incentive to do so. In some cases, on-demand water heaters were installed. What type of water heater (and extra storage tank if needed) is selected comes down to available power and space, Campbell says. The A.O. Smith Corp. CHP-120 heat pump water heaters, for example, require 200 volts with an 80-amp breaker.
According to Willdan Energy Solutions, there are numerous upsides to upgrading to more energy-efficient equipment.
“By reducing energy consumption in your facilities, you’re also reducing your cost—not to mention cutting your overall CO2 emissions,” the company says. “Energy efficiency upgrades don’t just lower energy consumption and reduce emissions. You also get the latest, most up-to-date technology—which means better reliability, less maintenance, and smoother operations.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.