Facilities managers and corporate engineers hoping to inspire energy savings in their organizations could learn a lot from Bob Holesko. In Building Operating Management, reporter Karen Kroll profiles the director of corporate engineering at Great Wolf Resorts, who has earned four Energy Star Partner of the Year awards and cut more than $25 million from the annual energy bill at HEI Hotels and Resorts. Those savings came through efforts such as an energy set point program, which adjusts the set points for domestic hot and chilled water and other systems to match each building’s needs while maximizing energy conservation. Holesko now oversees Great Wolf’s 18 properties, including 1.5 million-plus square feet of indoor water parks and more than 7,000 guest rooms.

In Kroll’s profile, Holesko offers advice on managing conservation projects in a hotel setting. “As with capital initiatives at most organizations, obtaining approval to make the investments can be a challenge,” Kroll writes. “Holesko’s strategy? ‘You have to be able to talk CFO language,’ he says. This means shifting from kilowatts and therms, important as they are, to financial metrics like payback and internal rate of return. The goal is to show how a project quickly will enhance the property’s financial performance and value.”

Like Great Wolf Resorts, Jay Peak Resort has an indoor water park, which attracts about 350,000 visits each year. To keep its hotels and water park cozy throughout northern Vermont’s frigid winters, the resort uses propane boilers that save more than $100,000 annually and reduce the carbon footprint of the facility by nearly 900 metric tons of CO2 per year compared with heating oil.

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