Placer County Wows DOE, Shows Energy Efficiency Can Be Exciting
Who says energy efficiency isn’t sexy or inspiring? As a matter of fact, upgrading aging and inefficient equipment not only looks good, it feels good on the financial bottom line. That is just what the Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge has done with the help from Sierra Business Council and Placer County’s mPOWER program.
Since 2013, Granlibakken has undergone a $676,000 renovation project with the intent of reducing long-term energy use and maintenance costs in its existing conference center and industrial kitchen facilities. With the engineering assistance of Reno-based Sustainable Energy Solutions, the multi-year comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit project at Granlibakken consisted of replacement to the cooling systems, upgrades to new boilers and heating systems, new building automation and control systems, new refrigeration compressors, a new industrial dishwasher system, as well as a state of the art Melink Intelli-Hood system and make-up air system which automatically turns on and off stove exhaust fans.
In all, Granlibakken’s energy efficient upgrade systems will save approximately $44,000 per year on electricity costs, almost a 43% reduction from baseline. That’s a pretty major reduction! With a no-up-front-cost financing package through the unique mPOWER Placer Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, Granlibakken is anticipated to see a 14 year payback on its capital expenditure. Not bad for a property with roots dating back to some of the oldest heyday North Lake Tahoe ski memories of the 1930’s.
Notably, this project has also been recognized as a showcase project under the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Better Buildings Challenge. In a recent post on the DOE’s website, the Better Buildings Challenge Director, Maria Vargas noted “…Granlibakken is a great example of energy efficiency at work in our nation’s buildings: innovative financing, public-private partnerships and high-tech solutions.” With an expense of more than $200 billion a year to run the built environment in the U.S. and with recent California legislation aimed at doubling energy efficiency in existing buildings by 2030, the Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge has embedded energy efficiency into its DNA. Now that is inspiring!