Stories & Features

Invermere's Copper Point Resort taps into incentives to offset cost of lighting upgrades

Image of Copper Point Resort

Hotel's switch to LED boosts energy savings, cuts costs

Copper Point Resort sits near the north end of Windermere Lake, one of the largest and warmest lakes in B.C.'s Kootenay region. The resort-style hotel is a four-season escape for international and domestic travellers alike. Located in the heart of the Columbia Valley and along B.C.'s Powder Highway, the resort is a 20-minute drive from Panorama Mountain Village, one of Canada's top-rated ski resorts.

With 75 hotel-sized rooms and 105 one and two-bedroom guest suites, Copper Point Resort is one of the largest hotels in the area; "with a power bill to match," says Jayson Murray, who is responsible for maintenance and energy management at the resort. "A big part of my job is managing our utility costs and making sure that we're using energy efficiently. There are endless ways to waste electricity on a property – and just as many ways to save it," he says.

Parade of burnt-out bulbs had to be replaced in hotel rooms each day

Like a lot of resort properties developed in the late 2000s, Copper Point Resort is awash with pot lights and spotlights lamps in guest rooms and fluorescent lamps in common areas. Murray estimates he and his team have changed tens of thousands of failing halogen and incandescent light bulbs in his eight-year career at the resort. "Nothing interrupts the guest experience quite like a bunch of burnt-out light bulbs," says Murray. "Aesthetics are so important in the hospitality industry, and lighting plays a big part in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere."

Before switching to LEDs, Murray's team was replacing between 10 and 15 bulbs in guest rooms each day – an inconvenience for guests and major drain on his maintenance team who had to constantly switch gears to replace burnt-out bulbs.

Image of a guest room at Copper Point Resort

Phased approached to installation makes saving simple with no impact to operations

Using energy efficiently at a hotel property is an ongoing challenge. Energy costs can vary according to a number of factors, such as the property's geographical location, the amenities offered, occupancy rates and guest behaviour. "How a guest consumes electricity once they've checked-in is almost completely out of our control," explains Murray. "For example, if they leave the lights on in their suite while they go skiing, there's no way for us to know. That's why implementing basic efficiency upgrades like LED lighting is so important."

The lighting retrofits at Copper Point Resort were done through a phased approached over several years and with minimal impact to hotel operations. Alliance member Invermere Electric Ltd., which handled the installations, was able to replace guest room lighting between scheduled bookings. Murray wisely leaned on financial incentives several times to complete the improvements through BC Hydro's Business Energy Savings Incentives program.

"Incentives helped us clear hurdles many times. A one-year payback period on any investment is exceptional, and makes rationalizing improvements to ownership much easier," says Murray. "We've easily saved more than half-a-million kilowatt-hours of electricity over the years with BC Hydro's help."

** The average household in B.C. uses approximately 10,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Saving half-a-million kilowatt-hours of electricity is equivalent to powering between 50 and 53 homes in B.C. each year.