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Customer Stories

Pala Casino Spa & Resort

Pala Casino Spa  Resort-hero.jpg


As the Pala Casino Spa & Resort grew in popularity, it was expanded in phases to become an entertainment facility with  a complete spa and resort. Along with its expansion came the challenge of integrating additional systems. “We added rooftops, then built the cooling tower and central plant, all in pieces,” said Garlon Banks, Vice President of Facilities, Pala  Casino Spa & Resort. “We needed a building management solution to monitor and control all of our systems, keep up with changes, and study energy use trends." Aligning with its strong commitment to sustainability, the resort sought a partner who, not only had the expertise to help it realize a more efficient use of energy and resources, but also one that shared its environmental values.


Based on a long-standing relationship, the facilities team for the Pala Band of Mission Indians contacted Trane to discuss the upgrades. As part of the Trane Building Advantage™ portfolio, an Energy Assessment was conducted to evaluate energy use patterns, system operation, and utility data. A 3-D Energy Optics* report was reviewed. After analyzing metrics and the ROI for nine energy-saving opportunities, the facility moved forward with a central plant optimization, kitchen exhaust upgrades, and controls improvements. Financing upgrades with savings  Trane worked with San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to craft an On-Bill Financing agreement that allowed Pala Casino Spa & Resort to invest in efficiency upgrades and repay the funds  through their utility bill. With On-Bill Financing, the site was able to work with a zero percent interest loan, spreading out payments to equal the energy savings. Pala Casino Spa & Resort anticipates that there will be a net zero change to their normal electric bill over the finance period.

Optimizing system operations
The central chiller plant was converted from a primarysecondary to a variable-primary flow system,  eliminating pumps, lowering capital and maintenance costs, and providing greater system reliability. Adaptive Frequency™ Drives (AFDs) added to the two 500-ton Trane® CenTraVac™ chillers in the plant maximize efficiency and reduce power consumption by adapting compressor motor speed and inlet guide vanes to chiller temperatures. Large touch screens on Tracer® AdaptiView™ chiller controls convey at-a-glance feedback on status and alarms, with detailed reports presenting data to document energy efficiency. Kitchen exhaust systems in the restaurants were optimized using sensors to regulate fan motor speeds and variable frequency drives to control ventilation hood operation.

Managing energy use
Pala Casino Spa & Resort uses a multitude of Trane Intelligent Services to manage energy use. Energy Performance helps optimize building performance with advanced energy analytics to transform data into actionable recommendations, discover energy waste, and allow the resort to make realtime decisions to trim costs. Building Performance provides ongoing collection, analysis, and reporting of site operational data. Trane analyzes system performance remotely and provides recommendations to reduce costs, enhance comfort, and improve equipment life. With Active Monitoring, Trane technicians, on duty 24/7, monitor systems, analyze alarms, and address issues remotely or forward to a Trane service office for resolution.

Monitoring and controlling building systems
A Tracer® SC building automation system (BAS) provides flexibility to monitor and manage building systems from virtually anywhere, using a web-connected device, such as a tablet or smartphone. Facility managers use the BAS to perform scheduling, adjust set points, manage alarms, troubleshoot issues and analyze data. Third-party optimization so ware monitors the systems and communicates adjustments to the BAS, helping to maintain comfort and reduce energy use. Tracer® ES, a web-based systems integration solution, provides an enterprise-wide view and control over all systems, enabling the resort to manage multiple buildings as a single enterprise from any web-connected device. “Our business never closes. We have to maintain the comfort level,” said Banks. “Our meeting rooms aren’t always occupied, but when you get 2,500 people in a room, it changes the temperature. With the new BAS, we use the scheduling function to precool a room  before an event, turn it down during the event, and move it back when the room is empty."


Central plant and kitchen exhaust optimization, controls upgrades and energy management strategies have resulted in efficiency, increased comfort and signifi cant savings for the Pala Casino Spa & Resort. First-year electrical savings is projected at $338,000, with an energy use reduction of nearly 1,932,000 kWh, equivalent to annual greenhouse gas emissions from 280 passenger vehicles. The resort received the Energy Champion Award from SDG&E for having the largest, most successful On-Bill Financing project in California to date, and received a rebate of more than $238,000. "It was a really pleasant experience working with Trane sales, their technical team and subcontractors," said Banks. "We are pleased with everything, but there is always more to do. We still have that list of ECMs we identifi ed to consider for future projects."