Ongoing renovations at the Official Kentucky Derby Host Hotel add to its beauty and charm “across the board” while reducing costs
In the last decade, compact fluorescent lighting and LEDs earned an unwarranted wrap for being less visually appealing than traditional incandescent lighting. As it was, the more energy-efficient lighting options were not the favored picks.
Now, high-end commercial properties like Louisville’s Galt House Hotel – which serves as the Official Host Hotel for Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby – have effectively shattered these misconceptions. The Galt House upgraded its gorgeous chandelier features and lighting fixtures, as well as emergency lighting, to CFL and LED alternatives.
Before converting more than 50 chandeliers – each containing anywhere from eight to 60 individual bulbs – to LED technology, Kenny Franklin, Director of Engineering, said personnel were changing out chandeliers’ incandescent bulbs about three times per week.
“It was very labor intensive,” said Franklin.
“In our chandeliers, we changed from 40-watt light bulbs to 3-watt LEDs four or five years ago,” he said. “Out of about 1,200 bulbs, we have not changed more than 50 bulbs since we switched to LED technology. It is absolutely phenomenal.”
The hotel qualified for $77,000 in energy rebates offered to commercial customers of Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company to help offset the costs for these lighting improvements and other various energy-saving renovations.
Through the utilities’ Commercial Rebate Program, commercial customers can apply for commercial rebates every year to help offset the costs incurred from making qualified energy-efficient improvements. This program was expanded again in 2014, following approval from the Kentucky Public Service Commission, to offer rebates for even more qualified items and improvements.
While many of the hotel’s ongoing renovations add to the facility’s beauty and ambiance, they also allow the hotel to better control its energy usage and help reduce operating costs.
The hotel’s RIVUE and SUITE Towers offer around-the-clock services to accommodate guest rooms and apartments, office space, six restaurants and lounges, more than 50 meeting rooms and two ballrooms.
The hotel has installed in-room energy management systems for each of the 1,300 guest rooms and luxury apartments for better temperature control when rooms are unoccupied. New high-efficiency insulated windows have been added throughout RIVUE Tower, as well as four new cooling towers for more moderated usage and a geothermal heating and cooling system in SUITE Tower.
An Energy-Savings Trifecta: Take Advice from Galt House’s Kenny Franklin
- Start with safe bets out of the gate.
“Lighting is pretty straightforward. If you have the capital to invest, the return on capital can be fairly fast.”
- Automate whenever possible.
“Our thermostats have occupancy sensors. We go to an unoccupied setting in our rooms so we don’t get to a point where we’re spending more money to correct temperatures than we are in savings.”
- Run the numbers.
“We did the math. We looked at the payback period. We figured out if it was a good investment for the long term and if it increased the energy efficiency of the building… We are always looking for ways to improve our operations and increase our energy efficiency.”