Bob Holesko Eyes Energy Savings in 2012
Like many facility managers, Bob Holesko, vice president of HEI Hotels and Resorts, has a simple goal for 2012: Control operating expenses. While that’s always easier said than done, HEI, which owns 42 hotels totaling more than 12,000 guest rooms and 10 million square feet, already has a strong track record of saving energy.
In the past three years, Holesko and his team of 42 chief engineers (one for each hotel) have knocked $5 million in operational costs off the annual budget. What’s more, the team just finished revamping its companywide energy dashboard and management system — The Energy Looking Glass, as it’s affectionately known. The new dashboard will be a tremendous help in tracking and analyzing energy use in a notoriously hard-to-predict industry.
HEI’s focus on saving energy is one reason it’s been chosen as Energy Star Partner of the Year two years in a row. It’s also only one of three hotel management companies participating as a charter member in President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge. Earlier this year, HEI’s CEO was invited to participate in a roundtable with Presidents Obama and Clinton — an invitation Holesko got to deliver to the CEO himself. “At first he thought I was kidding,” says Holesko. “But then he realized I wouldn’t joke about something like that.”
Still, despite all these successes, Holesko well knows the mantra of leadership will always be “what have you done for me lately?” Thankfully, 2012 is shaping up to be a banner year for more savings, says Holesko. Even with the remaining cloud of economic uncertainty, HEI has some major renovations projects on the table — $14 million at a Marriott in La Jolla, Calif., and $11 million at a Sheraton in Dallas, as two examples. These projects will include updates to guest rooms, chillers, new lighting, VFDs and programmable thermostats. Holesko’s team handles the smaller energy pieces, while a separate design and construction group handles the bulk of the renovations. This means Holesko has to coordinate carefully with the D&C group to ensure that new work isn’t accidentally re-renovated. Lots of experience — Holesko has more than 26 years — helps smooth the process.