The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort officially powered up six wind turbines Wednesday that are expected to help reduce its energy consumption and costs.
The wind turbines were installed on the rooftop of the 25-story hotel in September and have been undergoing final inspections and tests to get them ready.
“We tested them last week, and they worked great and looked great,” General Manager Andreas Ioannou said Wednesday shortly before festivities kicked off to launch operations. “It’s an exciting day for us.”
It’s the first Hilton of more than 500 properties to have installed wind turbines and is believed to be the first hotel in South Florida with them, hotel executives have said.
More than 500 guests were invited to watch as the wind turbines were locked into their upright position and started to spin against a backdrop of dramatic lighting and fireworks. The launch event was held at the nearby Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and Residences, now undergoing more than $34 million in upgrades to open in 2015.
With the addition of the turbines, the hotel expects to slash its $500,000-plus annual electric bill by 5 percent to 10 percent, Ioannou said.
Combined the 52-foot tall turbines are expected to produce 24,000 kilowatt hours of energy.
“The power generated by the wind turbines is enough to light this building year-round,” Ioannou said.
The Fort Lauderdale beach hotel – a member of Hilton Worldwide’s flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts portfolio – invested more than $500,000 on the wind turbine project, just one example of the energy conservation steps taken since its opening in 2007.
“It’s another avenue to reduce our energy consumption and enhances our want to live sustainably,” Randy Gaines, vice president of engineering for Hilton Worldwide, said of the wind turbine project.
In 2008, the 374-suite resort became the first hotel along the beach to be designated a Florida Green Lodging property. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection program recognizes lodging facilities that make a commitment to conserve and protect the state’s natural resources.
By early April, the resort’s new Tesla electric car charging station should be operational, and plans also call for installing rooftop solar panels in a couple of years, Ioannou said.
It also recently installed a food composting machine that can convert up to 900 pounds of food waste into a nutrient-rich liquid, which is helping to cut waste and trash removal costs.
While the use of wind turbines as a source of renewable energy is still rare in the hotel industry, it’s increasingly becoming a viable option for properties as innovations in designs and incentives are helping to bring costs down, according to Green Lodging News, an Ohio-based industry publication.
Florida is home to several major players in the wind energy industry, according to the American Wind Energy Association. They include Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Resources, which is the largest owner of wind power capacity in the nation, and Siemens, a major wind turbine manufacturer headquartered in Orlando.
Statewide, 16 facilities manufacture products for the wind industry, which includes a GE wind turbine assembly plant in Pensacola, according to the trade group.
“Florida has been a hub for wind energy manufacturing facilities, [and] we’re excited to see new wind generation also being added,” Emily Williams, AWEA senior policy analyst, said of the Hilton project.
“It’s a great night for the City of Fort Lauderdale,” Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler said during the launch festivities. “This [project] is about a corporate culture and a company that believes in giving back to the community.”
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