“My job is to look for opportunities,” explained Chad Braden as he walked me through the process of being the Facility Director of multiple hotels throughout Frankfort. Chad showed me the many upgrades that the buildings will be making soon, especially once they hear back on their Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant that helps subsidize project improvement costs. “The audit process helps you pinpoint your efforts for saving money, it’s almost like a SWOT analysis that helps you take a deeper dive into what you can improve and what might be failing from an operational standpoint,” added Chad.
By combining the costs and paybacks from upgrading to new LED lighting with new appliances like hotel room HVACs and windows, the hotels will not only be saving money but will be reducing their overall carbon footprint. Making upgrades that improve the buildings aesthetics, improves customer satisfaction as well. New lights make the hallways vibrant and new HVAC’s make rooms comfortable for customers. Not to mention the conditions of some windows in the older hotel were definitely far from energy efficient and overdue for an upgrade.
“What the Berea Center for Energy does for small businesses is help lower the bar of entry and help make the business case for energy efficiency,” Chad continued. One of the oldest hotels Chad organized upgrades on went from spending $300,000 a year on electricity to $200,000 a year. After upgrading everything from the boiler system to lights, the building has successfully saved $100,000 a year in its operations. “The entire process can seem a little confounding,” Chad admitted, “but the audit process helps you understand and make sense of the argument to pay a little more for certain appliances.” As Chad’s job revolves around protecting investments and continuously making improvements that make bottom-line sense, he said the Berea Center for Energy is making offers that any small business should consider when looking at how to streamline their operational costs.