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Light ’em up

Posted on December 19, 2013
Source: Reno News & Review Green Guide

Peppermill saves electricity by changing to LED lights

With its own geothermal power plant on site powering all heat and space, the Peppermill Resort had already cut its energy bills down quite a bit—about $1.8 million a year. But they’re always looking for more ways to save, and they recently cut down their electricity bill by an estimated $130, 539 a year by switching their parking lot lights from 1,000-watt metal-halides to 188-watt LEDs.

These savings come from switching both of the Peppermill properties—the Reno Peppermill Resort and the Western Village in Sparks—to LED-lighted parking lots.

“In August of this year, we put in these new units. We’re already seeing about a 90 percent energy reduction at Western Village because they have meters that are dedicated to the lights,” said executive director of facilities at the Peppermill, Dean Parker.

The project switched out 406 lights on the two properties combined and each new LED cost $775, totaling $314,650. It also received a rebate from NV Energy’s Sure Bet Incentive Program of $92,000. This rebate amount was determined by the reduction of energy use when Peppermill switched to the LED lighting units. Because of this and the expected savings, Parker said that Peppermill expects a return on their investment in 1.7 years.

Sure Bet is an incentive program throughout the state that provides assistance to NV Energy commercial customers “to do energy retrofits to their existing commercial buildings and/or their commercial buildings that are in construction,” according to NV Energy’s program manager for energy efficiency and conservation, Adam Grant. The incentives are given out for a variety of different reasons in this program, one of which is for switching to LED lighting. This program is meant to help both the commercial customers and the environment.

“We want customers to save energy,” Grant said. “We want them to learn to lower bills. We want them to be stewards to the environment. And it shows the customers opportunities to do this for their businesses.”

Parker did all of the research for the switch prior to going to the owners of the Peppermill with feasibility worksheets that included all the data about each property’s energy usage and the costs and expected savings of the LED lights. He said that it was a simple decision after looking at the numbers, especially with how quickly they expected a return on the initial investment. Even without the rebate from NV Energy, the company would have expected a return on their investment in 2.5 years. And the company considers anything under three years a strong investment, according to Parker.

Peppermill has done several things in the past that have helped reduce its overall costs as well as its environmental impact. The casino’s geothermal plant on site is huge. The Peppermill also uses artificial turf, saving over one million gallons of water a year. It has an Aqua Recycle System that recycles up to 83 percent of the laundry’s gray water, and it encourages guests to reuse towels and linens in the hotel.