Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort In Death Valley Recognized For Its Electricity-Reducing Initiatives
The Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort in Death Valley National Park has received an award from “Flex Your Power,” California’s energy efficiency and conservation campaign, for the resort’s successes in “Peak Demand Response.”
The Peak Demand Response award recognizes Furnace Creek’s successes in reducing peak power use and protecting California’s power grid during periods of high demand by shifting electrical consumption, shutting down systems, and taking immediate conservation action. Of the 10 award winners taken from applicants across California, Xanterra was the only tourism company recognized.
In partnership with Southern California Edison, the Furnace Creek Inn & Ranch Resort reduced peak load during demand response events by a maximum of 1,000 kW, or 50 percent of its peak load. Furnace Creek accomplished this reduction by shutting down unused buildings, shifting golf course irrigation pump use and golf cart charging to off peak periods, and completing laundry operations earlier than normal. Along with being a demand response leader Furnace Creek saved more than 35 million gallons of water as compared to last year with low-flow fixtures, decreased golf course irrigation, and other measures.
Flex Your Power also recognizes entities for their efforts in the categories of Energy Efficiency, Media and Education, Innovative Products and/or Services and Water Conservation/Efficiency.
“A key to our success was our extensive employee outreach program and our employees’ subsequent buy-in,” said Joel Southall, director of environmental health & safety. “For example, our front desk agents now consolidate guestrooms by individual buildings rather than spreading them out so that we can turn off the air conditioning for the day in buildings not used. Considering that Death Valley summertime temperatures are among the hottest in the world, energy savings are considerable.”
The single-biggest development undertaken by Furnace Creek operator Xanterra Parks & Resorts was the installation of a four-acre, one megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system. The system’s 5,740 panels were commissioned June 20, 2008 and generate 2.2 million kWh of emissions-free electricity per year, equal to one-third of Furnace Creek’s total annual electricity needs.
The company also undertook an extensive lighting retrofit, highlighted by the replacement of 100-watt incandescent flood lights in its museum with 13-watt CFLs and 75-watt incandescent fan lights in one of its restaurants with 7-watt cold cathode bulbs. “We see real benefits from these retrofits – reduced electrical consumption, improved environmental performance and superior product reliability” said Southall. “Flex Your Power’s recognition of our successes in an environment as extreme as Death Valley will hopefully encourage others to follow our example.”