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Betting on efficiency results in big savings

Gateway Casinos’ flagship location, the Grand Villa Casino in Burnaby, needs energy to run. It’s open 24/7 and is a large entertainment complex offering gaming, dining and nightlife. But by improving energy efficiency and signing up for renewable natural gas from FortisBC, Gateway Casinos is not only saving energy, but setting a standard for sustainability.

Staying cool

When Grand Villa Casino was built, energy efficiency was not top of mind. For example, the HVAC system struggled to keep the casino cool when temperatures rose above 28 degrees outside. Energy audits revealed Gateway Casinos could save energy and increase comfort by installing a new cooling tower with waste heat recovery. Their FortisBC key account manager provided technical expertise and helped them apply for incentives through our Energy Efficiency and Conservation programs.

“Waste heat from the cooling tower is captured through a heat recovery system and redirected to the domestic hot water supply,” said Jeff Lee, energy manager for Gateway Casinos. As well as increasing comfort, the new system lightens the load on the casino’s water heating systems. With additional energy-efficiency upgrades, they estimate they’ll save about 3,600 gigajoules of natural gas, or $30,000 per year.

Doubling down on sustainability

Gateway Casinos used some of the savings realized through energy efficiency to sign up for renewable natural gas from FortisBC. According to Gateway Casinos, Grand Villa is the world’s first casino on renewable natural gas. By designating 10 per cent of the natural gas used at the site as renewable, they anticipate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of 75 tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing about 16 cars from the road.1

“We’re leaders in entertainment, but we also want to be leaders in sustainability,” said Lee. “Renewable natural gas is another way we can reduce our impact and set an example to others.”

Winning acclaim

The casino never stops and neither do its efforts to save energy. The energy management team regularly meets with staff to encourage energy-conscious behaviour. Through the FortisBC Energy Specialist Program, Gateway Casinos is identifying further chances to reduce natural gas consumption, such as replacing faucet aerators with low-flow models and upgrading the natural gas fryer and convection oven in the kitchen to high-efficiency models. The latter upgrade earned them a rebate from our Efficiency à la Carte Foodservice Incentive Program.

The efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of their flagship have not gone unnoticed in the community. In 2014, they won the City of Burnaby Environment Award in the category of Business Stewardship. This recognized the energy efficiency and conservation achievements at Grand Villa, including efficiency upgrades, waste reduction, composting and greenhouse gas reduction.

Using Grand Villa as a model, saving energy is becoming standard operating procedure across all of Gateway Casinos’ B.C. locations. New properties are now planned with energy efficiency in mind from the start—and FortisBC will be there to help.

Natural gas. Good for business.

To learn how natural gas equipment, energy efficiency programs and renewable natural gas can benefit your business, contact your FortisBC key account manager.