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Bottom-Line Water-Conservation Strategies with Jeff Hanulec
Jeff Hanulec, director of engineering with Westin Copley Place in Boston, discusses plumbing and HVAC strategies that have paid off in terms of water and monetary savings
Director of Engineering
Westin Copley Place
How does the engineering department create a balance between conserving water and meeting the needs of hotel guests?
Energy conservation and guest satisfaction is a delicate balance, as there are so many choices in the market for both conservation products and hotel products. At the Westin Copley Place, we ensure we are doing the right thing for the environment while creating memorable experiences for our guests. We put all new products through months of testing and ask for guest feedback.
What has been your overall experience with the waterless urinals you installed in meeting areas?
We installed six waterless urinals in one of our busiest conference floors. They have been in operation for about two years with no reported defects. We have the cartridges on a regular preventive-maintenance schedule with our housekeeping team.
We have pulled them off the wall to ensure the drains remain clear and again have experienced no problems. We forecasted an annual water savings of about $200,000 a year, based on the amount of business on that floor.
You changed over from a water-cooled refrigeration system to air-cooled refrigeration. What type of savings has this action generated?
This project was a home run. We had over 15 water-cooled refrigeration units and 10 water-cooled ice machines that, when running, were dumping city water directly down the drain. We forecasted this project to have a less than one-year payback, based on the volume of water wasted and the high cost of the precious resource. We saw a 25 percent reduction in water and sewer savings in the year after implementation, which represented a bottom-line savings of $156,000.
How difficult is it to generate water savings through your landscape-irrigation practices?
Being in a downtown setting, we have more hard surfaces to maintain than we do green space. We recently replaced all our plantings around the facility and partnered with our grounds vender to ensure we utilized low-maintenance and low-water plants. We used 90 percent perennials, which gave us a spectacular planting with minimal maintenance. We also use 100 percent organic fertilizers to maintain the plantings.
What types of water-conservation activities do you envision the hotel tackling in the future?
We continually seek out additional savings projects to become both more sustainable and profitable. We are currently looking at new dish machines, fixtures in food and beverage spaces, waterless urinals in all remaining restrooms, and 1.1-gallon-per-minute toilets for all our guest rooms.