Stone Creek Golf Club improves the bottom line with sustainable practices

Golf club cuts costs with energy efficient upgrades.

David Phipps, Golf Course Superintendent
Stone Creek Golf Club, Oregon City, Ore.
Published date: October 2010
Stone Creek Golf Club

Minimizing expenses and controlling costs are important aspects for any business today. Many sustainable practices, like improving energy efficiency, can reduce operating costs, and sometimes with a little research it can be accomplished with minimal expense. At Stone Creek Golf Club we worked with our utility company to identify opportunities for energy efficiency and conservation, as well as funding opportunities to help with the expenses.

A service call starts it all

The project at Stone Creek Golf Club began with an electrical service call to repair a metal halide lamp located in the equipment storage facility. During the service call, an electrical contractor, Jack Wall of Winner Electric, suggested that we investigate cash incentives to upgrade to high efficiency lighting equipment throughout the facility. The first step was to contact our local power company, Portland General Electric (PGE), to request a lighting audit.

Many utility providers will provide energy audits at no cost because it helps them better manage energy use demands. Paula Conway, PGE Lead Energy Specialist, performed an energy audit for the entire facility at Stone Creek Golf Club. The audit identified and reported on opportunities to improve energy efficiency. Even though Stone Creek Golf Club is less than 10 years old, the existing lighting technology was out-of-date and very inefficient. Lighting fixtures located within the pro shop, clubhouse, cart barn, maintenance building, and the superintendent’s office were evaluated. Some of the lighting at the facility consisted of metal halide lamps and T12 fluorescent lamps. Both of these lamps are higher wattage than T8 fluorescent lamps. T12 lamps are larger than T8 lamps and require different ballasts/equipment.

Energy saving ideas

In addition to changing the T12 lamps to T8 or T5 lamps, the utility company’s audit report included other energy saving suggestions. Here is a summary of their suggestions:

  • Change incandescent lights to fluorescent lights. Based upon 2,500 hours of operation per year a 60 watt incandescent light costs $10.50 and an equivalent 13 watt compact fluorescent light costs $2.28 which is a savings of $8.22 per year per light. A 100 watt incandescent light costs $17.50 per year while an equivalent 23 watt compact fluorescent costs $4.03 per year, which is a savings of $13.47 per year per light.
  • Ensure exit lights are LEDs.
  • Install occupancy sensors in rooms used intermittently, such as restrooms, lunchrooms etc.
  • Install photo cells or timers on exterior lights.
  • Consider removing lights from areas that are excessively lit.
  • Thermostats should be set at temperatures to coincide with occupancy; 68 degrees for heating and 75 degrees for air conditioning in occupied areas. Use programmable thermostats where appropriate and secure them with lock boxes.
  • Install window film and check to ensure R-19 or better insulation is in place.
  • Ensure regular HVAC maintenance is scheduled.
  • Purchase energy efficient equipment (Energy Star Rated) when replacing appliances, computers, water heaters, etc.
  • Utilize smart power strips for chargers, adapters, etc.
  • Turn computers off at night.
  • Install vending machine controls that power machines when vacant, but keep them chilled.

Finding incentives and business energy tax credits

Due to the amount of potential lighting upgrades, PGE suggested that we contact Energy Trust of Oregon for potential incentives and/or Business Energy Tax Credits. Energy Trust of Oregon sent Gilbert Amestoy, an energy conservation manager for EOFF Electric Supply, who completed a lighting analysis and incentive estimate for the entire property. The estimated overall kilowatt hour (kWh) savings was remarkable. It was determined that we were using 74,433 kWh and after the improvements would use 35,558 kWh. That is a savings of 38,875 kWh’s or 52%. In addition, the use of occupancy sensors would increase the savings to 56%.

Implementing cost-cutting ideas

The first step was to take an inventory of all of our existing lighting that was eligible for upgrade. We then determined the watts per fixture. View our existing inventory list. Once completed, the most efficient replacement was determined, along with the watts per fixture, the annual operating hours, and the installed cost. View our proposed inventory list.

The kW and kWh savings were determined based on the business hours of operation. It became evident very quickly that we were going to qualify for incentive dollars and tax credits. Gilbert Amestoy worked directly with our electrical contractor, Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy to determine the cost to install the project. They provided us with a turnkey proposal complete with labor, materials, an instant rebate, and a tax deduction.

Reaping the benefits of energy efficiency

Stone Creek Golf ClubThe project was completed in 2010 with positive results. Once the fixtures were installed we noticed a positive change with the quality of light. In the maintenance equipment storage area where we originally had metal halide lamps, the lumens increased significantly. The lights turned on instantly and did not require time to light up. Similar changes were made within the cart storage facility. We installed motion detectors on each lamp to prevent unnecessary lighting when the building was vacant. In June 2010, the clubhouse saved 11.4% in power costs and the maintenance facility realized 26.8% in savings. The savings associated with the cart barn was 29.8% in June. We purchased a new fleet of E-Z-GO golf cars that came with the new 48 VDC Powerwise chargers.

This project was well worth the time to investigate our options, conduct an energy audit, and implement the changes. Cutting costs are paramount in day-to-day operations. In addition, “grabbing the low hanging fruit” was the quickest and easiest thing we could do to save money, reduce our carbon footprint, and strive to have a more sustainable operation. The Energy Trust of Oregon calculated that this project will offset 16 tons of CO2 generated by fossil fuels annually. That is equal to taking more than three cars off the road or planting 11 trees.

Learn more about Stone Creek Golf Club.