While working in the world’s first National Park, Delaware North’s Yellowstone General Stores have been doing more than just providing four million visitors a year with services, groceries and souvenirs; the properties have been focusing on reducing their environmental footprint.  Specifically, the twelve General Stores have been implementing projects to reduce energy consumption throughout the operation.  Their efforts have been so successful that electricity usage has reduced nearly 24% despite the fact that visitation continues to increase each year (Figure 1).

YGS Electricity Chart

Figure 1: Electricity Consumption and Yellowstone Visitation per Year

Yellowstone’s approach includes guest and employee education with messages that address energy saving actions, replacement of equipment with energy efficient technology, and adjustments to operation.  Although each of these contribute to the noticed reductions in electricity use, the data also directly correlates with the installation of new lighting technologies, specifically LED’s.

LED stands for “Light-emitting diode”, and these new bulbs have many advantages over incandescent and compact fluorescent light sources including: reduced energy consumption, longer life, improved physical robustness, smaller size, and faster switching response.

Yellowstone General Stores have actively retrofitted lamps over the past four years, completing five major lighting projects at the stores and at the warehouse.  Mammoth General Store was the first to test LED technology in 2012; since this installation the store has reduced electricity used 28% and has yet to change or replace a single lamp.

The West Yellowstone warehouse underwent an enormous lighting retrofit in 2014 that resulted in less than a three year payback, saving over $400 per month in energy bills.

LED’s were also installed at two General Stores near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone before closing for the season in 2014, Canyon General and the Yellowstone Adventure Store.  Results from the lighting retrofit at Canyon General Store was apparent.  Upon opening in 2015, the use of LED lamps contributed to a significant reduction in the use of electricity from 304,136 kilowatt hour per year to 199,800 kilowatt hour per year. That is a 34% reduction in electricity use from one store and over a $5,000 per year savings in the pocket book.

Lighting technology is constantly evolving and the costs of these efficient lamps decreasing, contributing toward a return on investment that makes good business sense. Delaware North at Yellowstone is continuing to take advantage of these savings in 2016.  Three additional General Stores are scheduled for LED lighting retrofits this spring including Fishing Bridge, Old Faithful Lower and Grant General.  By the start of the 2016 summer season in Yellowstone, seven of the twelve General Stores will have been successfully retrofitted with the most efficient LED lighting technology.

Delaware North once again is LED’ing the way in Yellowstone!

Published March 2016