Torgerson Properties, Inc. (TPI) develops, builds and manages hotels and restaurants throughout greater Minnesota and Florida. In 2011, TPI agreed to work with MnTAP as part of the U.S. EPA Region 5-funded hospitality project. “We agreed to work with MnTAP initially because it was a low-cost initiative that allowed us to become more educated on how we could impact our financial performance and at the same time become good partners in our communities.” Pete Bromelkamp, vice president of associate training and development at TPI, said.
MnTAP conducted site assessments at 26 of the 27 Torgerson hotel properties in Minnesota to identify waste reduction and energy efficiency opportunities. Following each visit, a letter of recommendations was sent to the property manager outlining the low-hanging fruit opportunities such as upgrading lighting and installing low-flow faucet aerators. In addition, MnTAP evaluated some larger capital investment projects that are assumed to have more significant impact on environmental performance and cost reductions. The larger projects were presented to Torgerson and provided in a company-wide report. “The impact of the MnTAP study completed by Sarah Haas has been amazing. We immediately began to implement some of the suggestions, but when we received a company-wide report, it clearly identified what a huge impact our organization could make on our operations and our communities,” Bromelkamp said.
MnTAP also used two years of utility data to develop benchmarks and energy footprints for each facility. The benchmarks allow the facilities to compare their energy use and relative efficiency against their peers. The energy footprints identified for the Torgerson properties were summarized to develop an average footprint for Minnesota properties, which did not exist prior to this project. This average footprint will serve as a guide for providing assistance to future properties.
What they said...
“[The] precise and easy to understand feedback identified a lot of low-hanging fruit that we were able to quickly act upon.”
-- Pete Bromelkamp, Vice President of Associate Training and Development at Torgerson Properties
The data was also entered into the EnergySTAR benchmarking program and the results indicate that five properties are potentially eligible for certification. The application process has been started and it is anticipated the properties will receive their designation by end of the year.
Through the efforts of this project with Torgerson, 5.8 million kWh; 460,550 therms; 4.3 million gallons of water; 418 tons of solid waste; and nearly $710,000 in annual savings were identified. This represents an annual reduction of 25% in electric use, 57% in gas use, and 38% reduction in water use. Any cost saving generated through conservation efforts will go directly back into the facilities. “We hope to implement additional projects as they become practical. The impact of these first few initiatives really opened our eyes to the potential that exists as technology continues to change and improve,” Bromelkamp said.
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