More than two years after going 'live' with their 756-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system - a structure based on 10 carports in the hotel’s parking area - the owners of the Wyndham Philadelphia-Mount Laurel are investing in additional systems to further reduce energy and water consumption and costs significantly. Investments involve a switch from heating oil to natural gas for air and water heating, an LED retrofit project, and an upgrade to ultra high efficiency toilets.
Rishi Shah, Asset Manager of the hotel, says the current transition to natural gas for heating involves a significant mechanical system upgrade. “We are upgrading boilers and storage tanks,” he says. “It will result in tremendous operating savings and have a payback of three years. We are estimating a savings of $7,000 to $8,000 per month.”
Shah says the upgrades will cost $320,000 and are being paid for without any incentives.
This past January the hotel’s owners (Shah’s family) wrapped up a transition to LED lighting throughout the hotel, including guestrooms. Approximately 2,000 bulbs were replaced, representing about 85 to 90 percent of all hotel lighting. It took some testing to get the right warmth and color but Shah says the changeover was well worth the investment. He expects payback in a matter of months thanks to incentives provided by the New Jersey Clean Energy Program. Lighting scores have improved. “We did not want to impact the guest experience negatively,” he says.
A Few Bumps on the LED Road
When compact fluorescents came on the market there were concerns about bulb theft. That is also the case with LEDs. Shah says there have been some minor incidents but not a huge problem with guests stealing the bulbs. It helps, he says, that guestroom bulbs have a GU24 connector.
Over the last two years the hotel has been switching over to ultra high efficiency toilets that use just 0.8 gallons per flush (gpf). That transition is now complete. The hotel’s previous toilets used 3.6 gpf. “It has been a great way to reduce water consumption,” Shah says. While there were initial concerns about backups with the new toilets, they have not been an issue.
From a waste management standpoint, recycling and composting are practiced. Composting was implemented two years ago. “Our staff got on board right away,” Shah says. Toters with food waste are picked up twice weekly.
Two Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed
To meet the needs of those travelers driving electric vehicles, two charging stations recently were installed—one level two and one level three. Shah says about six or seven vehicles a month have been using the stations.
When asked whether or not the solar installation has met expectations, Shah says it has. The panels are providing 47 percent of the electricity needed by the hotel.
Shah, who is a member of the Wyndham Green Advisory Board, says he is currently pursuing Energy Star certification for the Wyndham Philadelphia-Mount Laurel.
Go to the Wyndham Philadelphia-Mount Laurel.
This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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