The Williams Inn, Williamstown, Massachusetts
66,000 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $5,776
Annual Energy Savings: 64,177 kWh
Payback period: 0.1 years
Prevented 71,358 lbs of pollution
For Carl Faulkner, owner of The Williams Inn in Williamstown, MA, energy efficiency has become an integral part of everyday operation. As an accountant for several hotels in the 1970s, he experienced the energy crisis and still remembers some of the approaches used to conserve energy: buying gasoline for cars on an even- and odd-day schedule, lowering thermostats, and turning lights off. In the late 1980s, Faulkner became interested in emerging energy-efficient technologies. He contacted his electric utility, Massachusetts Electric, and requested an energy audit for the hotel he now owns. The utility company sent a lighting contractor to look into the installation of a new lighting system that would work well with his facility’s requirements.
Faulkner soon found himself immersed in many types of energy-efficient projects.
To maintain the relaxing, upscale atmosphere that makes the inn so popular, Faulkner carefully planned the lighting system upgrade. Moreover, the neighboring observatory provided an unusual design constraint — outdoor lighting had to be efficient and provided at the right levels so it would not interfere with night sky observation. A detailed plan that included location, mounting height, orientation of luminaries, and technical information on the fixtures to determine illumination levels had to be submitted to the town.
To achieve the right indoor light levels, Faulkner designated one of the guest-rooms as a testing room. Staff and customers evaluated several combinations of light levels and colors before he selected a specific technology. Once committed, Faulkner applied for rebates from his utility company. As a result, the cost of his project dropped to $830 and the payback occurred in only one month. Once the light levels were adjusted, a combination of compact fluorescent lamps (7, 9, and 13 watts) was installed. Customers noticed and commented on the improved lighting almost immediately.
When and how you use energy can really affect its cost, especially at a hotel like the Williams Inn. To help regulate the cost, Faulkner installed hourly meters that determine when peak demand occurs. Furthermore, Faulkner sub-metered to compare the percentage of energy used by the laundry with the percentage used by the kitchen. This comparison allowed him to focus his efforts on researching new energy-efficient technologies in those areas where energy is used the most.
Also, Faulkner has converted more than one-third of the motors to FRIGC (FR-12), a Freon substitute. As Faulkner says, “We have been preparing for the day when we can no longer use Freon.” Why is this important? Because some refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
The Williams Inn does not have an on-site energy engineer, so handling preventive maintenance contracts is one of Faulkner’s main activities as a facility manager. He is well aware that, in the long run, preventive maintenance will save him more than repairing units when they break. For example, tune-ups for air-conditioning units take place annually.
Faulkner has been recycling for many years. And even though the recycling of paper, cans, and glass requires a separate pickup at an extra cost, he is committed to doing his part for the community and for the environment.
As a new partner in the ENERGY STAR for small business program, Faulkner’s goal is to learn more about ways to improve his energy consumption, to be a smarter consumer, to bring profits to the bottom line, and to show others how to do the same.