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The initial reaction at Walt Disney World Vacation Kingdom to the 1974energy crunch closely paralleled the general response of industry at that time. A committee was immediately formed from operating management personnel to identify and implement conservation programs, such as resetting thermostats, reducing lighting, turning off HVAC systems and lighting when not needed. These operational changes were emphasized because they were immediately effective and could be implemented with limited capital expenditure.

It became quickly evident, however, that a longer term, strategic plan of energy management was needed to cope with complexities of the operating systems involved. For example, time clocks were intially used to affect the on/off control of lighting and HVAC systems. These worked and did save energy; however, they introduced new operational complications and costs associated with resetting the clocks to accommodate the many special events and changing operating hours in the Theme Park. Also, there were instances where the controls were set improperly.

An Energy Management Committee was then formed which included representatives from Engineering, Maintenance, and Utilities, as well as Operating personnel from Theme Park, Lake Buena Vista Communities, and the Resorts. This committee has been very effective in identifying, evaluating, and implementing energy conservation projects. It is a continuing entity and is presently chaired by the Energy Conservation Manager at Walt Disney World. Projects range from the computer controlled lighting and HVAC system to hot water generation from refrigeration units and air curtains at the Contemporary Hotel monorail entrances to name a few.