Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Engineers--the Unsung Heroes

In gaining efficiencies in a hotel--especially a large hotel--it is often the director of engineering who has the most impact on whether or not an energy management, water or waste initiative is successful. Yet, engineers rarely get the credit they deserve. Why not? When was the last time you saw an industry association, at the national level, present an award to an engineer for reducing a property's carbon footprint?

I just had an opportunity to interview Brian Gorski, director of engineering at the Hyatt Regency in Boston. He has worked at the hotel since 1993. After 18 years at the property, Brian has a tremendous amount of knowledge about what makes the property efficient or inefficient. Thanks in part to Brian's work, the hotel was just awarded the EPA's prestigious Energy Star rating. Brian told me the hotel's electricity consumption has dropped by a whopping 42 percent since he started working there. At one time the hotel consumed 12.3 million kilowatts of electricity per year; now the property consumes just 7.1 million kilowatts annually.

There are many things that have contributed to the plunge in power consumption: training, investments in new lighting, a guestroom energy management system, motion detectors for lighting, variable frequency drives, new heating and cooling systems, and much more. Brian has helped lead the effort to update heating, cooling and other equipment that has seen its better days. The hotel's owners have spent about $3 million on updates over the last 10 to 12 years.

Behind the scenes of our nation's largest hotels, engineers like Brian are having a huge positive impact on reducing our industry's environmental footprint. If someone like Brian works in your hotel, be sure to give that person the credit and recognition he or she deserves.

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