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Victoria hotel upgrades to LEDs, cuts electricity bill by $24,000

Image of Victoria's Strathcona Hotel at night
After such a big payoff with an upgrade to LED lighting, the Strathcona Hotel is now looking at motions sensors as a way to increase energy savings.

Strathcona Hotel taps into incentives to help offset cost of lighting upgrades

Strathcona Hotel just wrapped up an extensive lighting upgrade, one that's expected to save the downtown Victoria hotel a whopping $24,000 a year in energy costs. So how did they do it?

"Actually, it was pretty straightforward," says Grant Olson, the hotel's co-owner and general manager. "First, we consulted our light bulb supplier. They suggested we talk to a local Power Smart Alliance member about our upgrade options.

"Then, we did the math to see how much electricity we could save by switching to LEDs. After that, we applied for a Power Smart Express incentive, ordered the bulbs and scheduled the installation. The whole process took about three months."

Through the Power Smart Express Program, Strathcona Hotel replaced more than 830 incandescent and 430 halogen light bulbs with LEDs. Incandescent and halogen light bulbs were removed from pot lights and lamps in 70 guest suites, as well as from pot lights and sconces in the hotel lobby and hallways, two commercial kitchens, two pubs, a liquor store, a rooftop patio and a night club.

"Once the LEDs were installed, we saw immediate benefits," adds Olson. "Our BC Hydro bill went down, the quality of light in the guest suites was excellent and our maintenance staff were no longer bogged down by the task of chasing and replacing burnt-out light bulbs."

Hotel considers motion sensors to boost energy savings, cut costs  

"There's no way we could have made a clean sweep and had all those lights done at once without the Power Smart Express Program," Olson emphasizes. "By working with BC Hydro, we were able to tap into the incentive program to help offset the cost of the improvements."

The project qualified for an incentive of $19,652 from BC Hydro, and Strathcona Hotel expects to recoup the investment for the new lights in less than 12 months. Impressively, Olson is already considering installing motion sensors in areas of the hotel with scattered activity.

"I like to think of the motion sensor installation as 'phase two' of our lighting improvement project," he says. "Now that we have energy-efficient lighting in place, we're ready to cut our costs even further with lighting controls."

Olson has the right idea. When paired with energy-efficient lighting, motion sensors can be remarkably effective. They can cut workplace energy costs by as much as 20 per cent when installed in infrequently used spaces such as meeting rooms and back offices.

"There were definitely some upfront costs to re-lighting the hotel, but the long-term benefits make it worthwhile," Olson adds. "We all have things that come up — simple distractions like email and phone calls that delay these kinds of cost-saving projects. The thing is, the sooner you initiate a change, the more money you save on your utility bill.

"Once you see the cost savings you'll be asking yourself, 'why didn't I do this sooner?'"