Getting Tax Credits, Where Credits Are Due

By Steve Kiesner Director of National Accounts, Edison Electric Institute | May 04, 2010

American innovation, science and technology continue to transform the way our country produces and uses energy. During the past 30 years, our nation's economy grew three times faster than its energy consumption. America created more than 55 million jobs. It cut air pollution by 50 percent. The efficient use of energy, through sustained technology development, has played a large role in this progress-we are doing more with less.

Looking ahead, continued efficiency gains are part of the reason why the nation's energy intensity, measured as energy use per dollar of gross domestic product (in 2000 dollars), is projected to continue dropping, falling an average of 1.8 percent per year through 2030. As America has become more energy efficient, it has also increased its use of electricity. This trend is expected to continue. Over the next 25 years, the nation's electricity use is projected to grow by nearly 50-percent.

To help meet this demand for electricity, EEI and its member electric utilities across the country are offering hotels and all utility customers a variety of energy efficiency programs and services. We are also encouraging you to take advantage of the many the federal tax deductions and tax credits offered through the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).

As I commented in my previous columns this year, EPAct contains a variety of initiatives and incentives to boost your company's overall energy efficiency. This information is worth repeating. Combining a utility's efficiency services with the tax incentives will give you a powerful tool for getting the most value from your energy dollar.

One way the new energy law will help you is by creating higher energy-efficiency standards for a variety of commercial equipment. These products include:

For commercial refrigerators, freezers, and commercial icemakers, new efficiency standards will go into effect January 1, 2010 (standards for door-less refrigerators and freezers will go into effect by January 1, 2012). Electric heating and cooling equipment (packaged air conditioners and heat pumps) will also see new efficiency standards by January 2010.

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Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.