Going green pays off for Embassy | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Going green pays off for Embassy

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily TribuneEmbassy Suites Lake Tahoe employee Nick Rurry sorts the food scraps from breakfast into compost and trash bins. The property reduced its waste by 48 tons in seven months.

After spending $200,000 on environmental improvements in January, Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe has already paid for the investment in energy savings in just seven months.

And that’s not the end of it, either.

“It’s an addiction,” said David Hansen, Embassy Suites Lake Tahoe engineering director. “Once you start, you just can’t stop.”

Since starting the sustainability program in January, Hansen said the hotel has reduced its waste production by 48 tons, its gas consumption by 9,314 dekatherms – equal to $67,709 in savings – and electrical usage by about 575,000 kilowatt hours, which is worth $98,902.

In June 2008, the property used 496,080 kilowatt hours, and last month only 393,120 kilowatt hours were used, Hansen said.

The largest effort to reduce the site’s carbon footprint is in energy. About 80 percent of the carbon footprint come from energy usage, Hansen said.

Recommended Stories For You

To stay on top of such a large property, the meters are checked twice a day so that adjustments can be made accordingly, Hansen said.

One of the biggest savings is from the banquet rooms, Hansen said. Originally all the rooms were on the same heating and cooling system. Now Hansen receives a special-event list, and he can schedule when those systems are on in the rooms. That way empty rooms aren’t using excess energy, he added.

The hotel now provides zero-waste events. When a group stays at the property, Hansen said, they can track that group’s carbon footprint and tell them how much was reused, recycled or sent to compost.

Hansen said they send about 5 cubic yards of compost a week to Full Circle Compost Inc. in Minden. When the property needs soil for plants, they buy the soil from the same company.

“It’s cool to think we’re using soil that once came from our breakfast here,” Hansen said.

The laundry room also benefited from the environmental improvements.

The new Ozone Laundry System doesn’t use bleach, cuts the spin cycle time in half, and doesn’t need hot water, Hansen said. It also cuts the drying time by 20 minutes for towels. The sheets are dry enough that ironing them is sufficient.

About 120,000 pounds of laundry get washed every month, so switching to an energy-efficient system saves a substantial amount of money, Hansen said. And Hansen doesn’t plan to stop improving the property anytime soon.

One of the goals is to have guests engage in more sustainable activities.

Hansen said they already receive requests from guests who want to do their part. Embassy started placing recycling bags in the rooms so people can sort their own recyclables.