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How EWEB Helped Eugene Country Club Reduce Costs and Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions

September 25, 2017

Technician in hardhat inspecting an HVAC system

With help from our Smart Growth Programs, the Eugene Country Club recently switched from a natural gas boiler to a clean, efficient electric heat pump system that will reduce the County Club's HVAC carbon emissions by 95 percent and shave off thousands of dollars in annual operating expenses.

EWEB delivers safe, reliable power and water around the clock to homes and businesses throughout Eugene. We also deliver intangibles that most people never see, such as environmental stewardship and support for local economic development.  

During a recent renovation to the main lodge, the Eugene Country Club was faced with a decision to repair the existing gas boiler or to install a whole new gas or electric heating system. The Country Club's development consultant contacted EWEB for assistance. They teamed up with our Key Accounts Manager Travis Reeder, who developed an economic and engineering analysis of future operational costs for both gas and electric heating systems. The detailed report showed that a high-efficiency electric Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system would save the Country Club $4,500 per year in operating costs, and provide other benefits such as reliability, comfort, and carbon reduction.  

Reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) is a priority for many business owners, as well as a goal of the Eugene Community Climate and Energy Action Plan. The community GHG inventory, created by the City of Eugene, shows the bulk of emissions associated with building energy use comes from burning natural gas.  

Though natural gas is cleaner than coal or oil combustion, it still produces significant amounts of greenhouse gases. In comparison, electric heating contributes only a small amount of Eugene's GHG emissions because about 90 percent of EWEB's power supply investments are in renewable resources.  

By converting from gas to electric heating, the Country Club will reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 134,000 pounds, the equivalent of removing 13 passenger cars from the road or growing 57 acres of forest.  

The business will also save thousands in annual operating costs.  

"By challenging the myth that gas heating systems are always the cheapest to operate, we help customers make informed energy-related decisions," said Travis. "This is a valuable service to business owners and can help transform the community to the most economical and lowest carbon energy options."  

One reason VRF systems are so efficient is they transfer waste heat from warmer areas of the building to other zones that have a heating demand. They do the same thing when cooling, and can heat and cool simultaneously in different parts of the building.   

To assist with some of the up-front costs, the County Club received a custom EWEB incentive on the installation of the new efficient VRF.  

"We appreciate EWEB's commitment to providing a sustainable heating option," said Eugene Country Club General Manager Richard Spurlin. "The energy and economic analysis helped us make an informed decision in selecting the VRF option, and the financial incentive made the project economically viable as we switched from the gas boiler system."    

EWEB has assisted on numerous other building and renovation projects, including Northwest Community Credit Union's downtown headquarters that opened in 2013, and the new Amazon Corners apartment building and retail space coming soon to south Eugene. These carbon-saving solutions support the business community and ultimately benefit all EWEB customers.

To find out how EWEB energy professionals can assist with new business or expanding existing operations, visit our Business Growth and Retention Programs page.