Fume collection units were installed at this casino/resort to eliminate food odors that were emanating into guest rooms.

Located in Albuquerque, NM, Sandia Resort & Casino is an Indian gaming operation that opened for business in December 2005. The property boasts 135,000 sq ft of gaming space, 228 plush guest rooms, eight casual and fine dining restaurants, and spa, golf, convention, and live entertainment facilities. When guests noticed odors and fumes from the restaurant kitchens coming into their rooms, Sandia Resort & Casino contacted United Air Specialists (UAS) of Cincinnati to come up with a customized solution.


The resort did have exhaust fans with grease catchers installed throughout the building, but they required time-consuming maintenance more often than desired. Additionally, the fans  were visible from guest rooms. 

Sandia needed a heavy-duty, state-of-the-art kitchen emissions system that would more effectively remove pollutants from the air while conforming to the building’s structural and aesthetic requirements. With the resort and casino in operation 24 hours a day, Friday through Sunday, Sandia also required a system with minimal downtime and flexibility for cleaning times. Equipment installation would be a challenge given the extremely high altitudes and limited space on the resort’s multi-tiered roof. In addition, the system had to comply with federal, state, and local standards.


Management investigated and presented several options to the Pueblo of Sandia Tribal Council. The Council chose to work with UAS based on multiple crite-ria, including the quality and efficiency of UAS products, the high level of service, savings on labor costs and UAS’ ability to customize the equipment to the resort’s exterior. After a thorough review of the existing kitchen emission collection system throughout the resort, along with the desired end-result require-ments, UAS custom-designed and engineered multiple Smog-Hog® PSG fume collection units to fit Sandia Resort and Casino’s needs. Facilities staff worked directly with UAS to design the optimal units for each kitchen. The Smog-Hog kitchen emissions system uses electrostatic precipitation technology, or ESP, to filter odors and electrically charge contaminants, which are then captured onto aluminum collection plates.

Smog-Hogs do not require costly filter replacements. Instead, units are programmed to shut down for one hour each day for self-cleaning. UAS tailored this maintenance schedule according to staff downtime. This continuous cycle allows them to serve guests night and day. Additionally, the Smog Hogs use the existing supply of hot water, saving the resort and casino the costs of sourcing and heating additional resources.

The Smog Hogs at Sandia Resort & Casino were designed to fit the resort’s unique space and architectural requirements. Each unit was split into multiple parts to accommodate the resort’s roof load specifications and placed in locations that made them easily accessible for routine servicing. The units were also painted to blend into the buildings unique southwest façade.Above all, UAS worked with Sandia Resort & Casino to make sure every step of the planning and implementation process went smoothly. In addition to their engineering house, UAS was an integral part of the layout, installation drawings, contractor meetings and startup service - including finding the largest crane in New Mexico to lift the rooftop units into place. After installation, UAS continued follow up with general startup assistance and application engineering advice.


Mark Cuzzola, facilities manager for Sandia Resort & Casino reported the results. “While our original exhaust fans were working to some extent, they weren’t nearly as effective as the Smog-Hogs are. These new units allow our HVAC team to concentrate on other areas, as wash cycles and operations are all computerized. The HVAC staff only needs to perform routine maintenance and exchange cleaning solution once a month. These units have shown to be low maintenance and have already provided savings in labor costs compared to the old exhaust fans. The additional savings have been in these units not requiring monthly filter changes.”

“We looked at the required investment in UAS equipment and decided it was definitely worth it, considering the long-term savings,” said Paul Collins, su-perintendent of facilities for Sandia Resort & Casino. “The initial upfront cost was never the concern. The Council wanted results. The results, to date, have been exceptional. Since installing these UAS units, there have been zero complaints from guests regarding food odor or any type of aroma from the kitchens. The UAS systems clean all the exhaust, and only fresh clean air is exhausted.”

“Not only was the UAS team very attentive and great to work with, they helped us come up with a tailored solution that does exactly what we need it to.”