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Behind Caesars’ Journey To Reduce Energy Use

Behind Caesars’ Journey To Reduce Energy Use

From ASHRAE Journals 2022 AHR Today

LAS VEGAS—The parent company of the 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference’s host hotel is striving for energy and water-efficient operations. This journey is more than a decade in the making since Caesars Entertainment, Inc.—the largest casino-entertainment company in the U.S.—decided to reduce its environmental impact in its daily business operations more than a decade ago, said Eric Dominguez, senior vice president of engineering and asset management for Caesars Entertainment, Inc.

“Establishing goals and tracking progress in the areas of water, waste, energy and greenhouse gas emissions were natural outcomes of formalizing our sustainability efforts,” he said.

Two of those early goals are to reduce energy consumption by 30% by 2020 and 40% by 2025 per air-conditioned sq. foot against a 2007 baseline. Dominguez said Caesars has made “significant progress toward those goals through investments in energy- and water-efficient technologies, as well as operational changes” since those goals were established in 2008. Some of those technologies include:

  • Upgrading building automation control systems;
  • Implementing variable water and airflow delivery;
  • Installing variable frequency drives where appropriate;
  • Installing smart thermostats in guest rooms;
  • Installing millions of LED bulbs;
  • Establishing CodeGreen sustainability teams at each Caesars resort that would perform random energy audits;
  • Installing low-flow water fixtures and aerators;
  • Moving to drought-tolerant landscaping when possible; and
  • Implementing green building standards for new construction.

Energy efficiency aligns well with Caesars’ corporate social responsibility framework, is good for the environment, makes good business sense and, in many cases, improves indoor conditions, which enhances the guest experience at our resorts, said Dominguez.

Energy-efficient building systems have helped Caesars work to achieve its reduced energy consumption goal. According to Dominguez, those technologies include:

  • Implementing demand control ventilation and CO2 monitoring in large spaces with variable occupancies;
  • Converting air and water systems to variable-flow where appropriate with the installation of variable frequency drives and modified control sequences;
  • Upgrading control systems and moving toward automated fault detection;
  • Installing occupancy sensor-based thermostat controls in guest rooms;
  • Migrating to LED lighting technologies for almost all lighting applications;
  • Implementing an electronic maintenance management system to improve preventative maintenance;
  • Installing heat recovery in some applications; and
  • Utilizing low flow fixtures such as sink aerators and showerheads where appropriate.

“To meet our carbon neutrality goal by 2050, we intend to continue our legacy of energy efficiency by leveraging new technologies to reduce energy and water use while also focusing on the supply-side and using more renewable energy,” he said. “It’s important for us to carefully plan and execute strategies to minimize environmental impact while continuing to deliver an exceptional guest experience.”

Addressing Challenges 

Southern Nevada’s hot, dry climate with temperature extremes sprinkled throughout the year can make energy-efficient building operations challenging. “Many of our resorts have long histories on the Las Vegas Strip, and therefore, we’ve had to adapt over time with the deployment of new technologies,” said Dominguez.

These changes have resulted in benefits. For example, switching to LED lighting throughout Caesar’s buildings has reduced interior heat loads and managing HVAC systems through advanced controls allows the team to better condition spaces while lowering energy requirements.

There are limits to improvements that can be implemented without major reconstruction; however, using technology and focusing on the human element through operational change can yield solid results.

“For new construction, we adopted LEED standards and used energy modeling to guide equipment selection and design decisions. Additional enhancements include more reflective roofs, better insulation, higher efficiency equipment selection, low-flow fixtures, energy-efficient lighting and controls and drought-tolerant landscaping,” he said. 

But existing buildings have their own challenges. “There are limits to improvements that can be implemented without major reconstruction; however, using technology and focusing on the human element through operational change can yield solid results,” said Dominguez.

In addition to Las Vegas’ climate, Caesars is also tasked with other challenges, including supporting a trained workforce familiar with these newer technologies and keeping up with the size of the company’s operations, he said.

As Caesars continues to work toward lowering its energy use, the company is investigating more technologies and strategies, including how to leverage the internet of things in building operations and use sensors, controls and big data to drive further efficiencies.