How Harrah’s Las Vegas Saves $310K Annually with Retro-commissioning: News from ELCON 2017

by | Jun 9, 2017

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Retrofitting aging facilities has become a must for many companies as they look to reduce energy waste and increase efficiency. One of those companies is a mainstay on the Las Vegas Strip.

Eric Dominguez, vice president of facilities, engineering and sustainability for Caesars Entertainment, spoke at the recent 2017 Environmental Leader Conference and Energy Manager Summit about how the entertainment conglomerate is working its way to a sustainable future with its 45 properties worldwide.

Strategies for retrofitting aging facilities

“Do an assessment as to how your properties stack up against one another,” Dominguez said. He also advised doing the following:

  1. Evaluating energy use indexes for properties can help identify areas of opportunity
  2. Comparing buildings within a portfolio
  3. Surveying prop operators to see what energy conservation measures have been implemented is a good way to understand potential areas of opportunity
  4. Scaling low-risk, high-value opportunities allows for quick wins

When it comes to retrofitting buildings, there are many ways to achieve efficiency, including:

Operational improvements

  • Evaluate the shutdown procedures for areas that are not open for business
  • Identify potential savings opportunities
  • Communicate findings to property leadership for appropriate evaluation, distribution and action

Energy efficiency lighting

  • For ED MR 16s, Ceasars installed more than 100,000 of these for an annual energy cost savings of $1.2 million
  • For LED T8s, Ceasars installed approximately 500,000 for a 40-50% energy savings
  • For PAR and R lamps,

“This is the number one things people can do to save energy,” said Dominguez.

Water conservation

  • Replaced standard washers at laundry facility with tunnel washers for a $60,000 per year savings
  • Installed more than 16,000 low-flow showerheads
  • Adopted low-flow restroom fixtures as a standard, including:
    • Faucets (0.50 gallon per minute)
    • Toilets (1.60 gallon per flush)
    • Urinals (0.13 gallons per flush)
  • Educated customers (in-room programs/water on request)
  • Implemented xeriscaping and vegetarian replacement with desert landscaping
  • Began water treatment and cooling tower sub-metering

“A lot of good water conservation products on the market,” Dominguez said. “Fixtures, shower heads … urinals with a pint per flush.”


Why retro-commissioning? Dominguez lists the following reasons:

  • Operating requirements have changed
    • Spaces have been added, deleted or modified
    • Changes in internal loads
  • Equipment has changed over time due to repair and replacement
  • Systems and sensors are out of tune
  • Controls and strategies are dated

“We have a lot of things changing. We have dated equipment, new technology, and retro-commission makes a lot of sense,” Dominguez said, adding that retro-commissioning can help the facility and its systems meet the owner’s current facility requirements – not necessarily the original design requirements – to improve operating efficient and indoor comfort.

Benefits of retro-commissioning:

  • Improved occupant comfort
    • Indoor air quality
    • Improved thermal comfort
  • Improved building operation
    • Reduced maintenance calls
    • Solutions to systematic problems
    • Create benchmarks for efficient operations
  • Reduced operating costs and decreased energy consumption
    • Elimination of excessive equipment run times
    • Replacement of malfunctioning equipment or sensors
    • Optimization of controls sequences
    • Extended equipment life

Case study: Harrah’s Las Vegas

This 2.2 million square-foot hotel and casino opened in 1973 and, before retro-commissioning, had annual energy usage 48 million kWh with a cost of more than $4.4 million.

“We had old equipment,” said Dominguez. “Controls were 20 years old and chillers were 15 years old. We did some field investigation and interviews with our staff. We took trend data and looked at the current building automation system.”

The retro-commissioning of Harrah’s Las Vegas:

  • Total cost of $1.125 million
  • Utility rebates of $110,343
  • Annual savings:
    • 24 million kWh
    • 113,000 therms
    • $309,720 (2015 utility rates)
  • Simple payback on investment: 3.3 years
  • Annual emissions reductions of 1,911.9 MTCO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent)
  • Other: optimized plant eliminated the need to replace a failed chiller, which resulted in a one-time $300,000 savings

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