Galt House Hotel makes saving energy elegant

Posted | April 28, 2014

Ongoing renovations allow the Official Kentucky Derby Host Hotel to better control energy usage, while adding to its beauty and charm

In the last decade, compact fluorescent lighting and LEDs had previously earned an unwarranted wrap as being less visually appealing, when compared to traditional incandescent lighting.

High-end commercial properties like Louisville's Galt House Hotel, which serves as the Official Host Hotel for Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby, effectively shattered these misconceptions, upgrading its gorgeous chandelier features and lighting fixtures, as well as emergency lighting, throughout the facility 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 at Galt House Hotel, said personnel were changing out chandeliers' incandescent bulbs about three times per week.

"It was very labor intensive," said Franklin.

Kenny Franklin, Director of Engineering, Galt House Hotel
Kenny Franklin, Director of Engineering, Galt House Hotel

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 up to $50,000 every year to help offset the costs incurred from making energy-efficient 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 during times when a room is unoccupied; new high-efficiency insulated windows throughout RIVUE Tower; four new cooling towers for more moderated usage; and a geothermal heating and cooling system in SUITE Tower.

CFL and LED lighting, occupancy sensors and in-room energy management systems have allowed Galt House Hotel to more effectively manage its energy usage in its meeting spaces.
CFL and LED lighting, occupancy sensors and in-room energy management systems have allowed Galt House Hotel to more effectively manage its energy usage in its meeting spaces.

Want to make similar improvements? Check out these tips from Galt House Hotel's Kenny Franklin:

  1. Start with "simple improvements" first.
    "Lighting is pretty straightforward. If you have the capital to invest, the return on capital can be fairly fast."
  2.  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."
  3. Do the math.
    "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."
  4. Continually look for new opportunities.
    "We are always looking for ways to improve our operations and increase our energy efficiency."

Visit the LG&E and KU Business Rebate Program for more energy-saving ideas and a full list of improvements that qualify for rebates  

Apply Now 

Be sure to have your account number and tax ID or social security number handy.

Eligible rebate items and amounts have changed since this story published. Please visit for the current rebate categories and amounts.