Examining cost reduction through innovations to produce a superior energy efficient product



As companies attempt to navigate through these unique and tough economic and social times, it seems that the nation has moved from a model of revenue generation to one of lowering operational costs. How much revenue would it take to add (x) profit dollars to your bottom line vs. how can we make your business operations efficient enough to add (x) to your bottom line. We do it by implementing energy conservation measures (ECMs) that have good ROI and pay good dollars after the return is met.

If this economy has taught us anything, it is that we need to preserve our profits in any way possible. The most obvious way to do this is to make more money, but what happens when that just won’t work? The easy answer is to lower operating costs. By making your business less expensive to run, those dollars go right back to your bottom line. This is one of the reasons that the Sustainable Gaming Standards Committee was formed.

The purpose of this committee is to find energy bubbles within the industry that can be addressed rather quickly while innovating to produce a superior energy efficient product. The first project that this team is tackling is something at the front line of every casino: slot machines. There are a few reasons why this is the first project.

* Slot machines are your front-line revenue generators.

* Slot machines make up a large portion of a property’s energy bill (from the floor).

* The popularity of slot machines makes it easier to help to effect green change within your customer base.

As the chairman of the Sustainable Gaming Standards Committee, I am charged with building the right team and helping direct them down the right path to a sustainable slot machine standard. To this end, we have a wide-ranging team, with members from the energy sector, education, manufacturing, suppliers and operators. I am finding that just as in any business, the key for me as the leader is to help keep everyone on track, and to make sure that we have a standard at the end that will be easy to adopt and will save significant operational dollars.

This will be an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard and is being facilitated by EGM Green partner The Leonardo Academy. This Wisconsin-based green think-and-do tank is led by Michael Arny, who was also chairman for the USGBC’s Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design’s Existing Building Program (LEED EB). ANSI standards are all voluntary to adopt, and serve as a sort of best practice for the industry.

We are always looking for more operator/manufacturer participants for the committee and for sub-committees (energy or marketing/education/outreach sub-committees). We also welcome observers to the process. Our progress can be tracked through our Google site, so that everything is transparent, and the public has an opportunity to keep up with what we are doing. Because this process is also open source, anyone can participate as well.

As we begin the move up the sustainability continuum, many more energy opportunities will come our way, and it is our responsibility to future generations to address these and other issues. By forming this Standard Development Team to focus on efficiency, we are taking a crucial first step in making these and other necessary cost lowering changes.

One of the changes we are looking to orchestrate will involve making sure that the supply chains’ sustainability practices are in line with what the industry should strive to achieve. We will do this by implementing some best practices from other industries and from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).This will make future sustainability standards that much easier to move through from start to finish, because we already will have a template to follow.

We also are looking to increase the efficiency of lighting and cooling systems, which can have a much larger impact on the entire casino floor’s HVAC /cooling needs. Imagine how much money you can save if you can keep your floor 5 degrees warmer without having to worry about the ambient heat emanating from the machines affecting a player’s comfort. Now think about how much you can save when this team moves its focus from the approximately 1 million slot machines that are operating in the United States and throughout the world to something like total property energy use.

Positive and inevitable change

These incredible changes to the industry are inevitable. Businesses are constantly pressured to make changes to positively impact their bottom line at the expense of some of its finest employees or programs. This standard will show how the slot teams’ approach of adding dollars directly to the bottom line by lowering operating costs is a more creative solution to the much greater issue of lower profit margins in combination with declining revenue streams. The challenge these days is how do we positively impact our Triple Bottom Line (People, Planet and Profits), which Wall Street calls Stakeholder Value.

You can help out by joining our team, becoming a financial supporter, joining one of the sub-committees, or helping to spread the word about this through the media, or through other channels. It is rare that you have such a great opportunity to impact your company, your industry and your own personal career. So when you are done reading this article make sure to take action. This change is inevitable, and who better to be involved than you.