Best Western Heritage Inn

Best Western Heritage Inn

The Best Western Heritage Inn in Great Falls, Montana, is one of the city’s largest hotels. Built in 1972, the hotel is two stories tall with 230 guest rooms, including four two-room suites and five one-room suites. The building also houses a steakhouse, casino, pool, hot tub, bar, fitness center, and 12 large conference rooms in a convention center.

LED Lighting Conversion

Lighting at the Heritage Inn included metal halide bulbs in the parking lot and incandescent, CFL, and fluorescent lights throughout the interior. Based upon the information in the audit, MREP facilitated an LED conversion project. This project had a less than one year payback:

  • Project costs (lights were self-installed): $2,600
  • Utility incentives: $1,482
  • Net costs: $1,118
  • Annual bill savings: $1,995
  • Annual energy savings: 25,935
  • Simple payback with energy savings: 0.56 years

Additional Recommendations in the MREP Audit Report

In addition to the LED conversion, MREP also recommended occupancy sensors for guest rooms and public areas, such as the fitness center, business center, and offices. These sensors could help save as much as 40% more energy by turning lights off in unoccupied spaces. Several occupancy sensor options are available for hotels, including a technology that involves sensors in the key readers. A standard sensor wall switch can cost as little as $10.00 per switch.

Interior Room Heating

The 76 interior rooms and hallways have 10 dedicated electric roof-top ventilators. These ventilators are direct expansion (DX) cooling only, with no heat. Each room is equipped with its own thermostat tied to a duct-mounted electric heater. This allows each guest to adjust the temperature according to their comfort levels. The supply air to these heaters is not preheated and it takes a large amount of energy to heat air when there is a large temperature difference. It would be beneficial to replace the current roof-top units with a gas-fired model. MREP recommended this upgrade only if and when the current roof-top units are replaced or upgraded. The gas-fired roof top units will preheat the air and use a less-expensive fuel. They will also lower the electricity required by the smaller duct-mounted heaters.

Hot Water Heating

Hot water for the entire building, including the pool and hot tub, is heated by three gas water heaters. The main hot water heater for the guest rooms operates at 79% efficiency. By installing a new high-efficiency hot water heater Heritage Inn would save 5,000 therms of energy or $3,500 per year. The cost of a new high-efficiency water heater ranges between $1,500 to $3,000, resulting in a simple payback for this energy conservation measure of three to five years.