Oklahoma Businesses Discover Benefits in Energy Conservation
Davis, KirLee, THE JOURNAL RECORD
Making a building more environmentally friendly need not involve expensive hardware changeovers. Several Oklahoma operations earned dynamic results from simple system additions or cultural changes.
Rather than install new energy-efficient glass with its $2 million apartment renovation of downtown Tulsa's Robinson Packer Building, the George Kaiser Family Foundation put storm windows over the 210 N. Main St. building's original second- and third-floor hotel windows. That provided the equivalent or even greater performance than installing double- or triple-pane glass while preserving what was already there, said Anne Pollard of Pollard & Associates Realtors.
SJS Hospitality of Broken Arrow not only built energy-management systems into its five Tulsa-area hotels, it also installed infrared sensors and a controlled thermostat that adjusts settings when people enter the room and when they're sleeping. When a person leaves the room, the unit drops to 65 degrees in the winter or rises to 80 degrees in the summer.
"It only takes about 10-15 minutes to readjust to the set temperature when a person re-enters the room," said SJS Operating Partner Jeff Hartman. "The cost to install this type of energy management system is $20,000 to $30,000, depending on number of hotel rooms, but the savings in utilities pays for itself in only six to eight months."
To improve its environmental performance, St. John Health System created internal Green Teams at all five hospitals. From those, the hospitals developed a number of environmental programs, ranging from paper consumption to biomedical waste.
To cut power usage, St. John launched a staff education program on the value and practice of turning lights off. Its information technology department also is developing a system to implement sleep mode on the health system's 5,000 computers, when appropriate.
"That could result in roughly $60,000 savings per year," Vice President of Property and Facilities Manager Dewey Davis said in a telephone interview. "Our goal by the end of this year is hopefully to reduce electrical consumption by 10 percent, which could amount to half a million dollars. …