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Santa Ynez Casino and Resort Green Initiatives

National Pollution Prevention Roundtable Tribal Workgroup Conference Call

Tuesday September 16, 2008 at 2 pm EDT, 1 pm CDT, Noon MDT, 11am PDT

Guest Speaker: Joshua Simmons (jsimmons@santaynezchumash.org) (805-688-7997 ext 15), Environmental Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians in California (close to Santa Barbara).

Josh has a Bachelor of Arts(B.A.) in Environmental Science from Assumption College, a Master’s of Environmental Science and Management (M.E.S.M.) from the University of California Santa Barbara, a law degree (J.D.) from the University of San Diego School of Law, and is a licensed California attorney. Josh is particularly interested in identifying opportunities for cost savings through environmental efficiency.

Josh presented on what they’ve done to green their casino and resort operations. The greening initiative was driven by their facilities dept. to be more cost-effective, and it was a good sign to have pollution prevention driven by a non-environmental dept.

Tribal properties include a casino, a resort (restaurant/hotel), and two gas stations.

Improvement measures they have implemented (driven by cost efficiency):

  • Installation of energy efficient lighting LED and CFLs, not just in the casino and commercial side, but government operations as well.
  • Use of certified cleaning products for interiors, floors, windows, as well as in washers and dryers. They have products identified in their facilities guide. They incorporate environmentally preferable chemicals, as well as use less chemicals in general. They are in the process of assessing cost savings.
  • Conduct programmatic review of cleaning products
  • Replacement of wet loop mop with microfiber mops (reduces water and chemical use)
  • Purchased an escalator cleaning machine — saves time and chemical use, no respirator is required and is less labor intensive.
  • HVAC and Boiler have variable speed drives and controls- don’t have to be ramped up to full speed. More advanced HVAC controls give better temperature control and save energy. It also does a good job on controlling smoke levels.
  • Co-mingled recycling- waste providers pull recyclables out of trash at casino/hotel/resort. Waste and recycling- monthly waste audits to show recovery rates. They are not composting at this time.
  • Collecting fats, oils, and grease from kitchen for biodiesel (30-40 gallons/month estimated)— selling waste oils at $0.50/gallon to tribe.
  • Wastewater treatment plant- tertiary treatment- recycle greywater back to irrigation and toilets
  • Low flow toilets and shower heads
  • Employee and customer shuttle bus (reduced 800 car trips in 2007).
  • Removed air fresheners- deemed unnecessary and chemically intensive $1200/year savings.
  • Reuse pallets and other shipping materials- giving pallets back to company on next delivery. While this may not be a cost saving action, it is little effort for a strong environmental benefit.

Future Strategies

A Tetra Tech consultant came out to do P2 assessment, sent from EPA Region IX. EPA got in touch with their facilities people, and helped drive the assessment. The consultant identified potential opportunities with the goal of making a case study. Jessica Counts is the contact for Region IX. Energy provider can also conduct energy audit.

Some recommended actions include:

  • Install high powered air hand driers- save 109K per year in the purchase of paper towels
  • Retrofit slot machines with LED lighting $2200/annual savings for 100 machines, payback 0.62 years. Note that new slot machines may already have LEDs.
  • Implement uniform recycling program
  • Install waterless urinals
  • Bulk dispense toiletries in showers/bathrooms. Partner with namebrand companies to maintain four/five star status.

Additional initiatives

  • Installation of solar power on casino, via a Dept. of Energy grant: $2.5 million was available May 2008. Worked with RSC Solar. Tribes should consider all different technologies and all different suppliers; RSC worked for them. It’s also important to take advantage of incentives. They found 4.9 – 6.9 year paybacks on installations. Installation on carports is a good strategy, because you get shading for cars as well (6.9 year payback). In valet area: $45,000 annual savings, 6.9 year payback. Estimates were made using Google Earth. Josh is actually putting together a “Guidance for Native American Tribes considering Solar Power” presentation, based on this experience.
  • Plan to collect oils, fats from their facilities and local businesses and producing their own biodiesel for their fleet vehicles and to be sold at their gas stations . B100 will coagulate at low temperature; B20 is fine. Better for all air pollutants, except NOx (possibly 5% increase). They will try to run at least one bus off of it. In implementing biodiesel use, vehicle operators need to watch out for rubber gaskets, as the biodiesel may eat through those. May be possible through AIR program to obtain grant funding to build a biodiesel plant. Tribes in Region 4 have been successful in doing so (contact Dan Olone olone.dan@EPA.gov)
  • May potentially collect food wastes for composting
  • Improve green purchasing standards — energy star electronics, office supplies, cleaning products, double sided printing etc
  • A good starting point would be to calculate your own environmental footprint (energy consumption, waste consumption, water consumption).
  • Creating a P2 policy- an environmental committee would be helpful

Other Tips

  • Region 5 casinos have had great success with dry carpet cleaner – saves water and staff time and energy use required to dry carpets
  • Train cleaning staff to set room temperatures down
  • Staff involvement and training crucial in implementing many strategies