Cutting Costs and Consumption with Andy Staples

Although I will not be attending the GCSAA Show and Educational Sessions myself, quite a few Turfhuggers will be there including Chris Tritabaugh of NCC who'll be providing regular updates from the floor. 

I skimmed through the program and noticed Andy Staples was speaking a few times at this years conference. Staples is the President of Golf Resource Group and has over 16 years of experience designing, building and managing golf courses, covering over 125 projects throughout the world. Trained as a Landscape Architect, Mr. Staples is an industry leader in sustainable practices for golf course development including energy and water efficiency programs.

I decided to contact Staples, to get a teaser of his three presentations at this years show.

Turfhugger: Andy, your talk entitled Top Ten Energy Efficiencies for Golf Facilities (Monday 3-5pm) interests me. Here at Turfhugger we cover this topic often including a Top 7 List with Tom Mead, and various other articles. Can you give our readers a small peak in to your list with a few examples of what you can recommend superintendents can do?

Andrew Staples: The simple thing to do to save energy is to stop wasting it!  Turn off your lights, close the doors to the shop, don't run your large pumps when only small ones are needed.

The area that is getting the most attention out west is lighting - compact fluorescent bulbs v. incandescent.  I've been involved with over 50 courses that have gotten their lights changed for free via the local utility company.  I've seen savings of over $20k per year with more efficient lighting.

On the golf side, the best way to save energy is understanding how you irrigate relative to the size of your pump station.  Our business has installed very large pump stations, of which their capacity is only needed for a month or two during the year.  If you correlate your watering demands with the individual sizes of the pumps, I've seen reductions of 30% or more.

The largest gains for efficiency are coming by way of removing turf, changing maintenance schemes of bunkers and other golf features, not treating all turf the same fertility-wise, etc. 

I'm keeping busy these days providing clubs with financial plans for various projects, and promote the ones that pay for themselves as quickly as possible.

Turfhugger: How does this differ from your talk called An Energy Efficiency Snap Shot on Monday from 1-3pm?

Andrew Staples: The Energy Snap Shot is a 2 hour talk on how to assess your facility, including a section on renewable energy integration.  It also gets into some specifics on what to look for on your energy bill and how to calculate your energy and water use baseline.  It more overview, with a few examples of savings projects.

Turfhugger: And what about your Tuesday 8am-12pm talk about Water and Energy Management for Golf Courses?

Andrew Staples: The Water and Energy Management is with a colleague that helped me get my work going in So Cal, Andy Slack and lasts 4 hours.  He talks about water management and I compare/contrast energy.  It focuses on more specific ways to cut energy and water use, how to integrate the utility for rebates and incentives and presents specific case studies.