These are typically large areas located in a large hotel or multi-use complex that contain gaming tables, casino personnel and equipment, such as roulette, blackjack, slot machines, dice game (craps) tables, poker tables, etc. Some may be multi-floor and some have side areas for special gaming, bars, restaurants and show rooms that are often located adjacent to the main floor. Adjacent administrative offices, cashiers, money counting rooms, security monitoring rooms may be included in the casino area. Architecturally, casino designs use ornate facades with high ceilings and a generous use of mirrors to enhance the appearance of grandiose wide-open spaces.
Some are floating, located on barges, riverboats or off-shore vessels. These must also comply with the regulations of the US Coast Guard and building methods of a shipyard. (Ref: HPAC August 1997 p. 45-53).
Casinos also require a complex energy system design to provide power, light, complete environmental control, fire/life safety, water, telephone systems and communication lines. They are often operated 24-hours a day, every day, and occupancy can vary widely. Areas with slot machines have a high floor load. Security systems and personnel are a major consideration.
Energy Use Information
The two main energy users are lighting and HVAC - specifically cooling. The lighting load constitutes a large percentage of the cooling requirements so the HVAC loading tends to be fairly flat. Typical casinos will have an average hours use of demand in excess of 600 hours per month.
During peak occupancy hours, casinos can have a high latent load. Controlling tobacco smoke is the most difficult problem, as smoking is often allowed, and this requires good filtering and odor control with large amounts of fresh air for ventilation.
Usually part of a larger facility, the casino areas typically use a multiplicity of air-handling units served from a central chilled/hot water plant to serve the wide HVAC load variations. All-air systems with multiple speed fans and/or VAV systems are commonly used, with provision for operating with 100% outdoor air.
The smaller gaming areas may have infrequent high peak loads. They are typically handled with individual air-handlers, roof-top units or from a VAV system.
Floating casinos typically use water-cooled chillers, rejecting heat to the river or seawater. A refrigerant head-pressure control may be needed, depending on the temperature variation of the water. Special seawater condenser tubes are usually used to resist corrosion. Heating can be from boilers or multi-stage electric duct heaters, depending on the vessel location.
Recommendations/Energy Services Opportunities
Central plant designs may also incorporate heat recovery, thermal storage, and other energy conservation opportunities such as variable speed drive on water pumping, and temperature reset on chilled and hot water distribution circuits. These complexes are also excellent opportunities for a central control system for fire, smoke and security, maintenance control and operations, and energy management.
- Older inefficient systems should be investigated for upgrading or replacement, particularly if CFC refrigerants are used
- Continuously monitor the amount of smoke in the room to determine whether the fresh air dampers are full open or flow is reduced to the design minimum
- Add energy conservation concepts discussed above if not already in use
- Innovative ventilation systems like electric desiccants, heat pipes, enthalpy wheels may be recommended
Hot water is used for food preparation and cleanup, employee locker room showers, and rest rooms. Hot water consumption varies significantly among individual facilities. Refer to the specific various applications for more detailed information.
Consider heat pump water heaters where the casino and the associated hotel are connected. The best design may be to install water source heat pumps to supply the casino cooling and then reject the heat removed to a water-to-water heat pump at the hotel.
Most water heating is done separately from the building heating system using direct resistance or gas heaters, and in some cases, point-of-use heaters.
Most of the lighting in a casino is supplied by the games themselves. The use of bright flashing lights and mirrored walls can provide all the light necessary. Where additional light is needed for black jack, poker, and other gaming, incandescent lighting will usually be the light of choice. However, fluorescent lighting should be used whenever it is acceptable to the owner.
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