River Run Bed and Breakfast, Kerrville, Texas
4,800 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $2,400
Annual Energy savings: 45,283 kWh
Payback period: .6 years
Prevented 77,451 pounds of pollution
Kerrville Public Utility
Ron Williamson, owner of River Run Bed & Breakfast in Kerrville, Texas, provides a relaxing, casual atmosphere for his customers while saving on energy costs. The perfect marriage of form and function, River Run’s cost-saving, energy-efficient innovations dramatically enhance the comfort and aesthetic pleasure of its guests. Known for its gorgeous gardens, early Texas architecture, and romantic atmosphere, River Run beautifully weds the new and the old.
After they decided to open a bed and breakfast, Williamson and his wife, Jean, considered either buying an old house and renovating it or building an inn from the ground up. They decided on a new building that would have the look and flavor of early Texas architecture while being extremely energy efficient. Williamson calculated it would cost only $2,300 more to build an energy-efficient bed and breakfast. Kerrville Public Utility kicked in a $900 rebate, cutting the cost difference to $1,400. With this information, Williamson built River Run Bed & Breakfast.
Because Williamson built his bed and breakfast from the ground up, River Run was able to incorporate a number of thoughtful, energy-efficient features from the beginning. For example, the insulation in its walls, ceilings, and floors far exceeds the required ratings, trapping in heat in the winter and keeping it out in the summer. Insulation blankets wrapped around water heaters reduce standby heat loss and cut water heating costs.
Williamson also knew that the seasonal occupancy of a bed and breakfast required a heating and cooling system capable of operating by zones. He chose high-efficiency heat pump units fitted with individual zone controls that allow for heating and cooling in only those areas being occupied. He installed programmable thermostats to maintain comfortable temperatures without wasting energy. Variable speed, reversible ceiling fans in the guest rooms push warm air to the floor in the winter and pull warm air to the ceiling in the summer. These little details allow Williamson to program the thermostats at a lower setting in the winter and at a higher setting in the summer without sacrificing comfort. Thermostat-controlled power ventilators in the attic provide the finishing touch, helping to cool the building in the summer while minimizing energy costs.
Williamson’s attention to comfort and energy efficiency led him to install a very specific style of window. All of the windows at the inn feature double-paned glass and those facing direct sunlight are tinted. The coating on the tinted windows keeps solar heat out in the summer and prevents indoor heat from escaping in the winter. This single feature exemplifies River Run’s philosophy: Smart planning can augment the guests’ comfort while lowering operating costs.
The carefully designed lighting at River Run establishes ambiance and enhances moods. Where aesthetically possible, River Run’s indoor lighting system comprises lower wattage compact fluorescent and T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts. Photo controls automatically turn off outdoor lights during the day.
While River Run is famous for its beautiful gardens and landscaping, many of the guests are not familiar with xeriscaping which is responsible for the inn’s attractive grounds.
Xeriscaping is a landscaping technique that uses drought-resistant and natural vegetation to reduce watering costs. When complimented on his gardens, Williamson always explains how heavily he relies on this technique to save on water bills during the hot Texas summer.
Much of the breakfast table chat at River Run involves the innovative technologies that enhance the inn. Williamson’s guests are often surprised and impressed to learn that a small investment in energy-efficient technologies can dramatically improve the quality and comfort of the inn, while adding revenue to the inn’s bottom line. Williamson’s initial investment of $1,400 saves $2,400 a year in energy costs and helps ensure that his guests return for another journey into the Texas of yesterday.