Casinos and energy efficiency – Strategy for sustainable development

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espanolEstablish procedures for best practices for responsible energy consumption is a clear examplewhere aspects of sustainability going in hand with business profitability. While it is ideal to plan from the project stage, is also possible to implement actions on existing buildings

Profitability and sustainable development

The globalization of the economy establishes a highly competitive scenario, in which the profitability of companies is directly linked to an increase in productivity.

This constant search for improvement in the use of an organization’s productive resources is not possible without considering the concept of sustainable development. Productivity and sustainability are binding concepts.eficiencia-energ

Companies’ plans for economic development must include strategies oriented to the efficient use of resources and environmental conservation. So that, within a framework of responsible compromise, business activity allows to meet the needs of the present without compromising the possibility of future use.

In this sense, a primary action is to implement plans to optimize the use of energy resources. It will aim at decreasing the energy consumption without affecting the amount of useful energy that each process needs. This, in practice, is called increasing energy efficiency. It means that every time there is a decrease in the energy consumption per product unit produced or service offered, the energy efficiency increases.

The result of these actions will contribute to the care of the environment, as well as generating savings in operational costs. So, establishing best practice procedures for responsible energy consumption is a clear example where aspects of sustainability going in hand with business profitability.

Energy efficiency in Entertainment Centers

The Entertainment Industry as a whole is not immune to the need of adopting policies to increase productivity with sustainable development.

In the particular case of Entertainment Centers, electricity is the source of energy that makes its operations possible. They are ventures that for their building characteristics, equipment, environment and comfort to offer to their customers – often operating 24/7 – have a demand of electrical energy high and complex.

In line with an approach properly taking into consideration energy efficiency, these peculiar characteristics must be considered at the design stage or the refurbishment stage of the building.

The project (building orientation, interior volumetric, etc.), building materials and setting, general equipment (furniture, games, signage, etc), services (fuel, water, air conditioning, lighting, center data, etc.), the generation and treatment of waste and effluents, as well as operational management model will impact the energy efficiency of the enterprise.


Casinos traditionally conceived, as enclosure isolated from the outside air and light; require a great amount of energy to operate. The comfort of that closed environment depends of the illumination, ventilation and air conditioning that are provided by the systems and services of the building.

It is possible to optimize that energy demand, which is mainly based on electricity consumption, by planning for best practices and using suitable technology. Although it is easier to incorporate it at the planning stage, it is also possible to implement actions in existing buildings. Let’s analyze some strategies:

Lightning systems

The considerations around casino’s lighting design are conditioned to the requirements related to the functionality of the operating area considered: indoor and outdoor signage, live table games, slots area, boxes, vaults, offices, bars, restaurants, etc.

lamp-bajo-consConceptually, the aim of the lighting system is to bring the adequate and differentiated light intensity for each requirement.

Then, the value assigned in lux  is a variable that can’t be changed. As a result, the improvement in the performance of the system is obtained with the use of devices with high luminous efficiency and low consumption.

The use of dimmers is useful to make adjustments on the levels of illumination and life’s extension of the lamps. Preventive maintenance work is also necessary in order to change old lamps and clean the devices in order to maintain their performance.

It is highly advisable to increase the use of external natural lighting where this is possible.

In general, use of electricity by lighting represents between 20% and 25 % of the total energy consumption, reduce their impact on costs is a major factor. In this area the shift to new technologies has high coefficient in the ROI.

HVAC Systems

HVAC -Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning- systems are put in place for the purpose of air treatment: its quality, temperature, humidity and movement. Its function is to ensure adequate ventilation and air conditioning in each area of the casino, maintaining the required levels of temperature, humidity and quality of the air beyond fluctuations in the outdoor environment.

Those systems account for between 45% to 50% of the total energy use. Thus, there is good reason to fully evaluate the efficiency of existing systems including equipment and injection and extraction systems.

The optimization of HVAC systems must aim to maintain proper parameters of acclimatization, while at the same time maximizing energy efficiency. The performance of HVAC systems impact directly on the quality of the air supplied, on overall energy consumption and on the quality of the air expelled to the environment.

An important factor to consider is that, inside casinos, there are two types of heat generating sources that affect the operation of those systems. A constant source comprising illumination, gaming machines, equipment, etc, and a variable source related to the grade of occupation, ie how full the casino is.

The installation of temperature and air quality sensors will allow for automatic control of air leaks to the exterior, depending on that variable source, with consequent energy saving.

Electronic gaming machines

pokjackElectronic game machines contribute to the overall lighting and are also a heat source to consider. The energy efficiency of a machine is thus something to consider when selecting games.

It is possible to consider the following parameters of consumption as a reference: very efficient, less than 200 W/h, efficient, between 200W/h and 350 W/h, inefficient, more than 350 W/h.

A good practice is to keep machines totally inactive outside of working hours, unless where maintenance is needed. It can be estimated that games’ usage of electricity makes up between 30% and a 35% of the total.


Very briefly, we have looked at the optimization of energy performance in casinos through the application of strategies for reducing usage of lighting and HVAC, as well as the selection of equipment with high energy efficiency.


panel-solarA company can go further than this. For example, through the implementation of plans for co-generation of local electrical energy by harnessing alternative energy sources such as solar energy, eolic energy, biomass, etc.

In all the cases presented, it is necessary to conduct research beforehand to evaluate initial costs and estimate the time of return on investment.

For example, in illumination and HVAC, one can expect a return on investment within 3 years. In terms of energy co-generation return on investment analysis would be more project-specific.

Through the continuous improvement of energy efficiency I wanted to show that the policies on sustainable development, when they are based on sound planning and the adequate use of technologies, are profitable and increase productivity.

The conclusion is that productivity and sustainability are binding concepts.