GREEN GAMING: GLI - A case study in sustainability
Around that same time, Magno started to ask about how we could help make GLI more energy-efficient. It was clear to him that if standards from the SGSC would make electronic gaming machines 50 percent more energy-efficient within five years then he could start the wheels moving to make GLI more energy-efficient and a model of sustainability for the industry.
It was a natural place for Magno’s thought process to go, as GLI has thousands of square footage of space filled with electronic gaming equipment and machines testing the equipment, in addition to thousands of square feet of office space filled with computers, HVAC equipment, lights and everything else a global corporation needs for daily operations.
Once Magno and I began meeting regularly it became clear to me that his understanding and enthusiasm was being transferred to GLI President and co-founder James Maida and to Bob Schrader, GLI’s director of field inspections, who, in addition to overseeing inspections, is in charge of all facilities projects for GLI’s 13 labs around the world. As a recognized leader in the gaming industry, GLI wanted to show its clients that being green was the right thing to do, and is profitable as well.
Everyone on the team understood achieving maximum energy efficiency would be a process, starting with low-hanging fruit (on a two-or-three-year ROI schedule), secondary projects (three-to-five-year ROI) and tertiary or long-term projects (greater than five-year ROI). Included within this process would eventually be the creation of a “chief sustainability officer” position so that there would be one point of contact for all sustainability decisions.
In February 2009, EGM Green performed a lighting retrofit at GLI’s world headquarters in Lakewood, N.J., resulting in an energy savings of 40 percent of their existing electric usage for lighting. Additionally, we supplied and installed a patent-pending T8 lighting controller to provide 16 percent energy savings whenever the lights were on and 67 percent “KW Demand” savings during a power grid “event” - that is, when the PJM Grid would be stressed and in need of voluntary load reduction on the part of its end users. The lighting retrofit and controller installation resulted in an 11 percent average monthly electric savings on usage for the entire facility.
We then moved to Phase II of the project, supplying and installing a Building Automation System (BAS) to replace the 17 independent thermostats located throughout the facility that operated gas heat/electric cooling rooftop units. Now the entire GLI facility is under centralized direct digital control by a BAS with artificial intelligence. As a result of the intelligence gathered by the BAS, EGM Green and our team was able to determine the following deficiencies:
1) 65 percent of the existing HVAC economizers were not working at full capacity. The net result was a loss of space cooling savings from October through April when low outside air temperature and humidity do not require cooling compressors to turn on.
2) A Variable Air Volume system was required for the executive offices and adjacent secretarial pool.
3) An existing 20-ton rooftop gas heat/electric cooling rooftop unit was running needlessly to provide for the data center’s 7.5 tons of space cooling needs.
4) Daylight harvesting was not being taken advantage of. Plenty of day lighting enters the perimeter glass so the existing lighting by those areas can be shut off.
5) The existing HVAC systems were not operating at peak efficiency because of advanced age, condition, duct and coil dirt and other optimization requirements.
6) Nano ceramic window film for all perimeter glass facing the south and west sun would decrease unnecessary space cooling.
GLI then had EGM Green supply and install “Smart Grid” technology that would be capable of “dumping” unnecessary electrical load during a power grid “event”. This feature was used on both HVAC and lighting and worked flawlessly. This decision was made even easier as GLI found out that there were only a handful of “events” over the last five years. GLI then had us supply and install an additional module designed off the “Smart Grid” technology to provide 24/7 energy savings. As a result, the average energy savings climbed from 11 percent per month of total electric usage to 20 percent per month.
Future plans for the world headquarters and other GLI labs include the use of renewable energy, such as solar and/or solar thermal power. The company also is considering U.S. Green Building Council LEED Certification and is considering augmenting their “Smart Grid” technology to include solar PV collectors combined with a managed battery system. Once this is accomplished, GLI’s headquarters will be the first LEED-certified facility of its kind in the world and a model of sustainability for manufacturers, operators and all those in the gaming industry.