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Turtle Creek

Tribal Green Casinos: Energy Efficiency

Presented by: Facility Managers at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Turtle Creek, part of the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, boasts large skylights in the hotel as well as on the casino gaming floor, letting in natural light which reduces the energy consumption by 50% during the daylight hours. All the remaining light fixtures are low energy LED lights. The decision to install the skylights was a conscious choice to into the ceiling, knowing that even despite the brighter LED lights, both the casino and the hotel would remain slightly dimmer after dark. It has been agreed by both the owners and guests that the skylights have been an overwhelming success.

Turtle Creek was designed with ceilings that slope from a high point of 50 feet to the lowest point of 12 feet. The space provides cleaner air. A state-of-the-art HVAC system moves air up from the floor to the ceiling then purifies the air before discharging it outdoors. In 2007, Turtle Creek had 2 mill BTU boilers with 60% efficiency on a Unolux system. When these were replaced with PK modu-fire FD the efficiency was increased to 95%.

The kitchens are designed to minimize harmful pollution and decrease energy usage. Centralized beverage dispensing is available at all bars and in all food and beverage outlets, adding to efficiency, reduced energy use, and minimal waste from cans and bottles. The buffet kitchen increases efficiency while reducing energy by also preparing banquet meals for the ballroom and meetings. The kitchen vents directly to purifiers in the mechanical space where grease is trapped. Air is purified before being vented outdoors, while the grease is reclaimed and dealt with by the facility’s waste haulers. All of the mechanical systems at Turtle Creek are high efficiency and are powered by natural gas. The previous system was a propane system. When the switch between propane and natural gas was made there was an estimated payback time of three years and an instantaneously lower CO2 discharge.

Outside of the facility, all of the pavement used at the previous facility was reclaimed, recycled and used to create the new pavement, concrete, gutters and foundation of Turtle Creek Hotel and Casino. In an effort to preserve the ecology surrounding the building, 12 national champion, Norway Maple trees have been planted. Turtle Creek is also proud to boast the title of first casino in Michigan with a green roof. This 2,400 foot green roof grows herbs and other plants and is used to advertise fresh herbs for the resort’s restaurants.

View the Turtle Creek energy efficiency case study

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