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Hilton Ocala Hotel Gets Greener, Switches to LED Lights
By Randy Durst



Not content to rest after being awarded a LEED Silver certification, The Hilton Ocala Hotel in Ocala, FL had a desire to become even greener and more energy-efficient. That desire led the company to install LED lighting in the lobby and other public spaces throughout the hotel.

As Ocala's premier hotel, the management felt the need to lead by example by finding and using new technologies and products to conserve energy, reduce their carbon footprint and lower operating costs.

“After the intense process to get LEED certified, we decided that wasn’t enough. We felt we could do better, we wanted to do better” said Joe Shanks, General Manager, Hilton Ocala Hotel. “Our corporate office pointed us to Taft-Durst, Inc, an energy saving solutions organization that specializes in energy efficient products for the hospitality industry. It wasn’t long before we came to realize how mature the LED industry is becoming and how much money we could save by switching to LEDs.”

From an economics standpoint, LEDs make a lot of “cents”. Richard Jabara, COO of Meyer Jabara Hotels of Danbury, CT, the parent company of the Hilton Ocala Hotel made the requirements clear. “I want our hotels to be as environmentally friendly and responsible as we can make them, but we need to do it in an economically sound manner. I gave Taft-Durst our guidelines – give me a return on investment of 18 months or less.”

“That was the easy part” remarked Maura Taft, President of Taft-Durst, Inc. “LEDs are so energy efficient and last so much longer than any other lamp. The savings analysis demonstrated that the LEDs were going to provide Meyer Jabara Hotels with ROI’s of between 8 and 18 months and as little as six months in some applications.”

Taft-Durst performed an audit of the lighting needs of the hotel and suggested LED products that would not only reduce energy, labor and replacement costs, but do so with products that are much more environmentally friendly than CFLs, which if handled correctly and responsibly, need to be repackaged and taken to a recycling center, which increases labor costs.

In the lobby areas, 19 watt CFL’s were replaced with Fawoo 8 watt lamps. In the restaurant and elevators, 35 watt halogen MR16’s were replaced with Elation 4 watt MR16’s, and in the hotels hallways the 19 watt CFL’s were replaced with Philips 7 watt A19 globes.

“The consistency and quality of light in the hotel improved dramatically after the installation of the LEDs” remarked Randy Durst, VP of Sales for Taft-Durst, Inc. “LEDs don’t change color as CFLs do as they age. These LEDs are going to last for years.”

Randy Durst also pointed out that many LEDs are now dimmable, which is a must for the hospitality industry. Considering they don’t have mercury in them, nor is any mercury used in the manufacturing process, LEDs are greenest lamp on the market. LEDs typically last for 50,000 hours and are available in a variety of colors; warm, natural and cool white. LEDs don’t give off heat, so the HVAC systems aren’t constantly trying to compensate. And they are available in everything from a chandelier lamp to street lights. You name it, there is an LED for the job.

LEDs are the light of the future – today!



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About the Author

Randy Durst, Taft-Durst, Inc
80 NE Fourth Avenue, Suite 15
Delray Beach, FL 33483
561-965-5258

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