Water Watch: Huge Complex Curtails Use, Maximizes Savings

  November 10, 2015

Water-conservation upgrading in institutional challenges are challenging enough, given the complexity and, often, the age and condition of plumbing and piping systems and fixtures. Maintenance and engineering managers also understand the challenges related to projecting water savings from a particular system upgrade, as well as quantifying the results once the upgrade is complete.

Now imagine the complexity of successfully planning and performing such upgrades in a facility with 6.2 million square feet, as well as a casino, 4,000 guest rooms, entertainment venues, and restaurant, convention, and retail spaces. And image a focal point of the upgrades is located in one of the most water-challenged areas of the country.

Those were among the challenge facing Rob Morris, corporate director for enterprise utilities and engineering with Caesars Entertainment, which owns the Caesars Palace complex in Las Vegas, as well as 39 properties in the United States that contain more than 57 million square feet of air-conditioned space. Perhaps the most important challenge was to oversee and perform the upgrades without disrupting the myriad activities taking place throughout the property.

Because the upgrades to the plumbing, restroom and irrigation systems at Caesars Palace varied in size, depending on the system and the amount of work each project required to complete, both in-house staff and contractors took part in the work.

"We see a mix, depending on the availability of the in-house staff," Morris says. "Their primary functions are maintaining and operating the building, so for the bigger projects that take a lot of extra time or are more complex, we’ll outsource and bring in staff to do the installations. We will have in-house staff changing showerheads and aerators. That’s easy for them to do. If we’re installing VFDs and upgrading controls, we most likely would outsource that."

Specifying the systems and components installed as part of each upgrade involved collecting product information from a host of sources.

"We get information from both directions," Morris says, referring to the specification process for new showerheads. "We get it from vendors and manufacturers reaching out to the properties, and then it comes up the chain to us."

The results of the corporation’s water-saving upgrade projects have been impressive. With 2008 as a baseline, the CodeGreen program set intensity-based reduction goals for water use of 10 percent by 2015 and 15 percent by 2020 for the domestic portfolio of properties. Figures for 2014 and so far in 2015 are not availab,e but through 2013, Caesars has reduced water use intensity by 18 percent since 2008 levels, while increasing the size of facilities by 11 percent.

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