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Barona Resort gets energy efficiency rating

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Barona Resort & Casino has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star, the national symbol for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. Commercial buildings, including hotels and resorts, that rate in the top 25 percent of facilities in the nation for energy efficiency may qualify for the Energy Star. Barona was one of only 85 hotels in the state of California to receive this recognition.

"Barona is pleased to accept an Energy Star in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts," said Jay Bart, director of safety, health and environment at Barona Resort & Casino. "Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship and lowering our carbon emissions."

Commercial buildings that earn the Energy Star use an average of 40 percent less energy than typical buildings and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Barona has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity used from approximately 180 households for a year.

"Whether you are running a grocery store, a school, or an office building, getting the most out of your energy dollars -- while reducing your carbon footprint -- just makes sense," said EPA administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

Barona achieved an Energy Star rating due to its energy efficient equipment and diligent training of staff members. The resort property features a highly efficient HVAC, a system that heats, ventilates and air-conditions each room throughout the hotel and casino. Also, Barona's staff have been trained to turn-off lights and set thermostats to unoccupied mode when guests are not in the room. Additionally, Barona has replaced all incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents throughout the entire hotel.

As wine connoisseurs pair select cheeses with specialty wines for a full-flavored experience, beer aficionados will now have the same opportunity to savor micro-brewed beer with traditional, New York-style pizza. Beginning this month, FLIPPIN' PIZZA, New York Style, of Vista and La Costa and Knockout Pizzeria of Carlsbad and Oceanside will offer Karl Strauss Brewing Co. beers at each of its locations.

"The partnership with Karl Strauss enriches our dining culture by allowing customers to pair the different flavors of the pizza with the various micro-brewed combinations of the beer," explained Patrick Farley, owner of FLIPPIN' PIZZA, New York Style, and Knockout Pizzeria. "Mixing and matching the different brands of high-quality beer with great pizza will make pizza nights a fun and flavorful event."

The fifth annual San Diego restaurant week, which took place in January, left diners and restaurants satisfied with a record-setting 180 restaurants participating, which is a 22 percent increase over the 2008 event. Participating restaurants also reported an 80 percent to 90 percent increase in sales throughout the week compared to their normal weekly revenue.

According to a report in Nation's Restaurant news, 48 percent of U.S. consumers are dining out less often now than they did six months ago, particularly cutting back at the higher-end restaurants.

"We are so pleased with the results of San Diego Restaurant Week," said Lehn Goetz, chapter president of California Restaurant Association San Diego County chapter and owner of Café Coyote in Old Town. "We set out each year to offer a real value to our customers, and to give them a compelling reason to go out and enjoy San Diego's restaurants. With the recession hitting many San Diego restaurants hard this year, we're glad we were able to increase business for restaurateurs and to also give diners a great value and a reason to dine out again."

Organized by the California Restaurant Association San Diego County chapter in partnership with the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau and San Diego Magazine, Restaurant Week provided diners with the opportunity to savor three-course, prix fix menus from some of the best restaurants in the County for $20, $30 or $40 per person. This year, the addition of the new $20 price point offered diners even more savings than before.

"San Diego Restaurant Week continuously out-does itself by getting better every year," says Ingrid Croce, chair and co-founder of San Diego Restaurant Week. "With 180 participating restaurants and more satisfied guests than ever before, we're thrilled that even with the downturn in the economy it was a great success."

Restaurant Week will return Sept. 13-18. Visit SanDiegoRestaurantWeek.com for more details.

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