Being Green in the Green Mountain State: Environmental Efforts
Sarah Neith, email@example.com
Widely known as the Green Mountain State, Vermont devotes a lot of time and energy to caring for its natural surroundings. A strong connection to the land spurs environmental efforts statewide, including at ski resorts and on the mountain.
Ski Vermont resorts generate green results through improvements and collaboration with Efficiency Vermont. From 2000-2011, our ski areas saved over $26 million in electrical and fossil fuel consumption and prevented over 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, primarily from building upgrades and snow-making efficiencies.
Resort Environmental Efforts:
Bolton Valley is the first ski resort in Vermont to implement wind power as an energy source. They’ve also reduced diesel and electric power consumption in snowmaking with HKD snowguns and SMI fan guns and reduced fossil fuel consumption for heating the base lodge with Magnum Countryside pellet stoves.All of Bolton’s used cooking oil is donated to the Alternative Fuel Foundation.They also employ efforts like recycling, safe snowmelt, and environmental towel program, and more. Learn more at http://www.boltonvalley.com/about-us/environmental-initiatives
We all know snowmaking uses plenty of energy, so while adding to our arsenal this season we’re using 60 new energy efficient HKD guns to minimize that energy use while keeping our terrain snowy, white & deep.
Burke makes every effort to nurture our environment that is so critical to the livelihood of our industry. To that end, they have a number of initiatives and more on the way. Their new wind turbine, online in October 2011, will offset the energy costs of the new high-speed quad to the summit and has already produced approximately 190,000 kWh (kiloWatt hours); around the same amount that 24 homes would consume over that same period and is equivalent to over 130 tons of CO2 saved to date.
Burke’s community composting program, initiated in winter 2012, has produced approximately 15,000 pounds of compost to be used locally. Diverting 15,000 lbs of organic waste to composting represents a greenhouse gas emissions reduction equivalent to not burning over 707 gallons of gasoline! With the composting and recycling efforts during a three day Mountain Bike Festival, just 7 bags of garbage were removed from the event, including a campsite for over 700 campers! The resort-wide recycling efforts and the use of green products in offices, cafeterias and restaurants are other steps Burke is implementing to reduce our impact on the mountain, the region and Vermont.
Jay Peak Resort
Most people know that it takes just a tad bit of energy to heat a pool (and it’s a good bet that heating a waterpark is going to take more than a just a tad). But most folks don’t know that you need quite a bit of energy to heat the ground beneath an ice rink as well, to keep the ground from heaving. So when the folks at Jay Peak sat down to design their new Pump House waterpark on the heels of opening their Ice Haus skating arena, they were presented with a challenge: A) go the conventional road and incur massive energy expenditures on the waterpark, or B) find a way to reuse the energy beneath the Ice Haus. They went with option B and designed a system that channels the waste heat from beneath the ice rink and into the Pump House. And if that’s not enough, they’re also using the heat generated from their air conditioning systems to heat the rides in the waterpark.
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain partnered with industry leader Casella Waste Systems to provide “Zero Sort Recycling” across the resorts. Killington Resort and Pico Mountain also have 12 walk-in coolers that have been converted to Freeaire Refrigeration systems. On average, these Freeaire systems save $3,000 in operational costs and 13.2 tons of CO2 reduction annually (www.freeaire.com)
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain also purchased hundred of new low energy snow guns for the 2011-12 season and are offsetting 100% of the resorts’ electric usage through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits. Offsetting emissions is not the sole goal, however; energy reduction projects at Killington Resort have saved 5,547,016 kWh of electricity since 2000.
Large scale efforts abound, but environmental efforts can also be found in the fine print; Killington Resort and Pico Mountain have produced the 2011-12 Winter Trail Guides and Winter Guest Guides on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.
Magic Mountain continues its tradition of existing as a ski area that operates in tandem with its environment to minimize its man-made footprint and energy consumption. Magic’s network of trails blend with the natural contours of the mountain. There will never be clear-cutting of open boulevards. Instead, the growth in trails comes from more natural cleaning and clearing of space for glades so skiers and riders can be more in tune with nature. Magic Mountain relies on natural snow to a high degree, saving precious water resources, while also creating a unique skiing experience. A more natural mountain, Magic seeks to continue that responsible heritage into the future.
Mad River Glen
Mad River Glen’s ski experience is unique. The sustainable business model and mission of protection and preservation are downright revolutionary. It strives to maintain the current infrastructure, minimize environmental impact and stay true to the Co-op’s vision of maintaining the areas unique character. The philosophy is to protect and preserve the unique ski experience, putting an emphasis on the mountain not development. The philosophy can be traced to Mad River’s founder Roland Palmedo who believed that; “…a ski area is not just a place of business, a mountain amusement park, as it where. Instead it is a winter community whose members, both skiers and area personnel are dedicated to the enjoyment of the sport.”
Middlebury College Snow Bowl
Once again, the Snow Bowl will be offsetting all carbon emissions (including customer travel) working with Native Energy in Charlotte.
Mount Snow Resort
During the winter of 2011/2012, Mount Snow started a pilot program at Carinthia Base Lodge aimed at reducing the amount of waste the resort produces by using all-compostable cups, straws and flatware that were disposed of in clearly marked receptacles. The program was a success and the composting initiative will be instituted throughout the resort. In addition, Mount Snow recycled 13.3 tons of material in a new single-stream compactor that combines all recyclable goods into one receptacle.
Since 2000, Mount Snow has completed 14 projects to increase its energy efficiency. Efficiency Vermont, the nation's first ratepayer-funded energy efficiency utility providing services statewide, has calculated that the installation of this equipment will save 28,000,000 kWh of electricity over the equipment’s lifetime. The savings from these projects in both electrical and fossil fuels is an estimated $430,000 per year or more than $6,000,000 over the life of the equipment.
When the snowmaking system runs it creates an abundance of heat. Rather than exhausting that heat into the atmosphere, Mount Snow has channeled it so that ambient heat is now used to warm three of the base area lodges.
The benefits of these projects are already clear with Mount Snow’s electrical usage down 19% last year compared to the previous seven year average. Mount Snow is proud of its continued efforts to create environmentally sustainable initiatives at its resort.
Okemo Moutain Resort
Okemo continues its efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. Okemo received the prestigious Silver Eagle Award for Environmental Education from the National Ski Areas Association in 2009. Okemo’s Jackson Gore Inn was designated a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Small Business Development Center. Lighting efficiencies made in 2010 are saving Okemo approximately $7,400 in energy costs and conserving 54,000 kWh of electricity annually. A newly formed energy committee is working with Efficiency Vermont to investigate LED lighting and increase efficiency while reducing energy costs. Okemo’s base lodge is switching from oil heat to propane for a cleaner carbon footprint.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Environmental stewardship programs at Smugglers’ Notch Resort have been in place since the 1970s, when the Resort launched a recycling program. Since then, stewardship efforts have included: maintaining the Five Star status in energy efficiency in residential construction; an extensive recycling program for guests, employees and on-site restaurants; wildlife and habitat protection with ongoing tracking of both the Bicknell’s thrush and the black bear; and operation of the Living Machine treatment facility that uses natural biological processes to treat a percentage of the Resort’s wastewater. The Resort’s daily ski and snowboard camp lunch program has gone trash-free, thanks to efforts to reuse, recycle and compost by the young skiers and riders, their instructors, and the food service staff participating in the program. New condominium construction expected to be completed by December 2012 will obtain 5-Star energy ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency and Efficiency Vermont and include water-saving appliances and low-maintenance native plantings in addition to other environmentally friendly features.
Smugglers’ is very proud to be the first resort in Vermont recognized as an Environmental Leader by the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership program. This designation recognizes Smugglers’ exemplary environmental management program focused on compliance and minimization of environmental impacts. (www.smuggs.com/environment)
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Lodge, recently recognized by HSMAI (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International) and National Geographic Traveler magazine as a leader in sustainable tourism, launched the “Just Leave Tracks” initiative, which will be implemented into all guided snowshoe tours for the winter of 2012/2013. Just Leave Tracks evolved from an operational waste stream analysis that took place around the Lodge, the Resort and the surrounding areas, which pointed out the need to reduce the amount of litter accumulating after the busy winter season and snow melt. By including simple messaging and signage around the property, along with a QR code that brings people to a page on the lodge’s website, informing guests of the importance to keep Vermont litter free through four easy actions, Stowe Mountain Lodge is able to educate visitors on what an effect every piece of trash has on the environment.
In addition, Stowe Mountain Lodge has partnered with the Clean the World initiative to implement a soap and bottled amenities recycling program distributed to impoverished people around the world. This highly successful program helps to prevent millions of deaths caused by hygiene-related illnesses every day. Since starting the program in the summer of 2012, Stowe Mountain Lodge has donated more than 270 pounds of soap and amenities to Clean the World, which has been diverted from Vermont’s landfills. That translates to about 700 bars of soap distributed worldwide to children and families.
Each year Stratton uses less air, less energy and produces fewer emissions to make the same signature snow – an important feat when 95% of our terrain has snowmaking. A series of reservoirs stores two-thirds of the annual water usage and 100% of runoff is able to be reused as next season’s flakes.
Other green initiatives include Stratton’s Forest Management Plan for healthy growth and wildlife (Green Certified by the FSC), participation in the EPA Wastewise program and maintaining the Inn at Stratton Mountain’s Green Hotel status. Stratton is proud to improve a previously impaired stream to meet Vermont Water Quality Standards, the second in the state to do so.
Sugarbush Resort has an environmental success story to tell. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources removed Rice Brook from the state’s list of “impaired waters” as a result of Sugarbush’s diligent clean-up work.
Rice Brook is the third brook Sugarbush has succeeded in restoring to high water quality conditions. In 1996, a team of Sugarbush employees partnered with Vanesse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. of Ferrisburgh to prepare a comprehensive water quality remediation plan for the entire resort. This was followed by diligent implementation and monitoring of the plan by Sugarbush. Several years later, Chase and Slide Brooks were restored to meeting Vermont’s water quality standards. Now, Rice Brook has also been restored. For these efforts Sugarbush was awarded the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence.
Other Environmental Facts about Sugarbush:
1/3 of Sugarbush’s waste material is diverted from traditional disposal—such as landfills or incineration—to be recycled, composted, or reused; Sugarbush has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 23 tons annually by switching all off-road diesel machinery to biodiesel fuel; 5.6 tons of food scraps were composted during the 2010-2011 ski season; All 8 ½ x 11 inch office paper is 100 % post-consumer recycled content.
Trapp Family Lodge
Trapp Family Lodge has a policy to lessen its impact on the local and global environment. These efforts are manifested in conserving energy, water, and other natural resources; reducing waste generation; recycling and purchasing recycled products; and reducing the use of toxic materials.
All organic waste is composted; 200,000 pounds per year stays on property and becomes great topsoil, instead of being trucked to, and filling up, a landfill. The herd of more than 50 grass-fed Scotch Highland cattle provides locally raised and harvested beef for the lodge’s restaurants. Fields that would have to be mowed are instead grazed, decreasing the use of machinery and fossil fuels. The delicious Trapp Lager beer is made from spring water that naturally has the perfect mineral composition for brewing lagers, requiring no extra processing and significantly reducing the footprint of the project. Also recently purchased, a solar pool cover will save a minimum of 240 gallons of propane each spring.
The Trapp Family Lodge is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of its employees, and the community in which it conducts business. The lodge supports a sustainable world by instituting earth-friendly products & practices and cultivates sustainable thinking in all aspects of decision-making; from using post consumer recycled content products to certification as a Vermont Green Hotel.
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