August 2012

Glenwood Hot Springs benefits from widespread lighting upgrades

Lighting overhaul brightens Sports Shop displays, laundry room, lodge hallways and guest rooms

Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge & Pool's Facility Manager Gary Bosco, standing on the Grand Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, overlooking the pool and the 1893 Hot Springs Lodge.

The management team and staff at Glenwood Hot Springs, the oldest continuously operating business in the town that shares its name, is looking to the future with an ongoing, evolving program of energy-efficiency upgrades for its various buildings.

In collaboration with Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER) and Glenwood Springs Electric’s energy-efficiency efforts, employees and visitors to the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge and Pool facilities are seeing better and spending less.

The lighting improvement project, completed in 2012, cost $20,819 for energy-saving light fixtures and bulbs throughout the complex of buildings just north of the Colorado River. More upgrades were planned for 2013 as well.

Facility Manager Gary Bosco says the upgrades grew out of a 2009 energy audit by the engineering firm SGM, based in Glenwood Springs. SGM's report offered 78 recommendations for saving energy, and the Hot Springs completed 34 of the easiest and most cost-effective changes at its pool complex and nearby lodge by 2011.

In 2012, the Hot Springs took a fresh look at the remaining upgrades, and engaged with CLEER energy coach Rob Morey to set up a new plan that would take advantage of rebates on certain improvements.

After reviewing the energy audit, touring the facilities and talking about budgets, Bosco and Morey decided that improving lighting was going to be a wise investment. Morey advised Bosco to seek competitive bids from local contractors, chosing Flatops Electric of Silt.

“Thanks to the increase in efficiency work in the region, we have a number of local contractors who have learned how to include efficiency work in their business models, and we’re proud to have a growing pool of qualified contractors in our program,” Morey said.

Glenwood Springs Electric provided a $5,000 rebate on the project, cutting out-of-pocket costs by roughly 25 percent.

The Hot Springs facility, which dates to 1893, had 76 different kinds of bulbs in its multiple buildings. There were many old T-12 magnetic ballast fluorescent lamps in the kitchen, laundry and other work areas.

Bosco said the T-8 electronic ballast bulbs installed by Flatops provide a 30 percent energy savings over the old T-12s, and employees love the non-flickering replacements.

“They’re not so dull,” said laundry room employee Mary Flanigan.

“They’re brighter, more vibrant,” added her colleague, Kathy Webb.

The Sports Shop has benefited from 8-watt LED bulbs that provide an 84 percent savings over the old halogen bulbs and keep the retail space noticeably cooler in the summer, Bosco said.

Janet Rickert, assistant manager at the Sports Shop, has long wanted brighter lights to display merchandise, but higher-watt incandescents would have warmed up the shop.

“This is the best of both worlds,” Rickert said. “We get the additional lighting, but there’s no effect on the temperature.”

The various upgrades are expected to pay for themselves in anywhere from a few months to roughly 10 years.

Especially impressive was the conversion of 65-watt floodlights in the lodge hallways and elevator areas to compact fluorescent bulbs. According to Bosco, each CFL is expected to save the business $21.90 per year in energy alone, plus $1.75 apiece in annual maintenance costs because of their longer lives.

“Basically there are no more incandescent bulbs in the lodge now, except for the wall sconces and chandeliers in the lobby,” he said.

The only other incandescent bulbs left at the pool complex are in the Spa of the Rockies, where specific lights help create a relaxing atmosphere.

The lighting upgrades are the latest energy-efficiency move at Glenwood Hot Springs, where the geothermal heat provided by the Yampah Spring already helps to melt snow, heat buildings, and heat tap water.

The Hot Springs also replaced its boilers and HVAC chillers with more efficient models, and replaced water pumps with more efficient models.

All of these moves are good for the environment and, in the long run, less expensive. And that, Bosco emphasized, “has greatly assisted the Glenwood Hot Springs with one of our main goals: to continue to make an affordable, safe, and fun experience for all our guests.”

The Upgrades

  • Lighting was upgraded with more efficient ballasts and bulbs.
  • LED lights in Sports Shop save 84 percent in energy over previous lights.
  • Nearly all incandescent lighting was removed.

In the laundry room, Mary Flanigan appreciates the new T-8 electronic ballast bulbs, which provide a 30 percent energy savings over the old T-12s and non-flickering light.

Lessons Learned

  • There are many ways to save energy. For the Glenwood Hot Springs, SGM suggested 78!
  • Energy-efficient lighting creates a better experience for employees and guests.
  • Some lighting upgrades will pay for themselves in a few months.