Ski Vermont's Green Mountain Awards
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Greenest Overall Resort in Vermont
Stowe Mountain Resort
The combined efforts of Stowe Mountain Resort , including Stowe Mountain Golf Club and Stowe Mountain Lodge, puts us on a level of environmental stewardship unseen in any other Vermont ski resort. Resort-wide Audubon International Designations in conjunction with Stowe Mountain Lodge’s Destination Earth program undisputedly validates efforts, and clearly establishes Stowe Mountain Resort as a leader. The groundwork has been set to achieve levels of excellence, which should set the bar for ski resorts worldwide.
Stowe Mountain Resort is the first and only ski resort in North America to become a ‘Certified Sustainable Destination’ under Audubon International’s Sustainable Resort program. This rigorous independent certification process took over five years to complete and required the resort to:
- Identify and quantify all elements of sustainable development and operations at Stowe Mountain Resort (SMR).
- Prepare, tabulate and submit specific data and facts such as SMR’s annual energy savings, recycling and food composting volumes, local food sourcing, environmental education efforts, water conservation, storm water protection, energy efficiency improvements, land and wildlife habitat protection efforts, land planning, alternative transportation options and establishment of a resort wide environmental policy.
Best Green Up Day Participation Program
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s Green Up Day has been happening for so long that no one can remember when it started – but current employees can attest to participating in the effort over at least the last dozen years. Typically the resort holds its own Green Up Day just prior to Vermont’s official effort in May, which gives employees the opportunity to participate in their hometown’s program in addition to greening up at work. The effort kicks off with employees meeting for a delicious breakfast prepared by the resort’s Mountain Grille and a safety presentation. Groups then organize and fan out over the resort property, with coverage to the upper mountain parking lots in addition to the Village and Base Lodge areas. Typically 2 to 3 one-ton truckloads of trash are collected each year.
Best Environmental Awareness & Education Program
Though the training of resort staff, all resort guests are educated and informed of Burke Mountain Resorts environmental efforts. Through table tents at the restaurants and cafeterias, and resort wide signage, our guests happily and eagerly take part in our initiatives. During the summer months, Burke makes it a priority to educate the public at all mountain events including large festivals, music and biking events by staging “Separation Stations” at each event. By educating the guests at these events, our composting and recycling efforts during a thee day Mountain Bike Festival with over 1200 people in attendance ended with just 7 bags of garbage removed from the expo.
Greenest Recycling Program
Stratton Mountain Resort
Stratton has a long term goal of being zero-landfill. In order to do so our first step has been to implement a comprehensive resort wide recycling program. Our program is multi-faceted and includes not only a successful single-stream program but also a pilot program utilizing BigBelly Solar compactors, and a miscellaneous recycling program to find a second life for many otherwise non-recyclable items.
This year we converted the majority of our trash and recycling receptacles to be a single-dual function container to make it easy and convenient for all guests. This combined with the BigBelly compactors makes our trash and recycling collection system easy and present to guests. We collected and recycled over 100 tons of waste that would have otherwise gone to our landfills in 2012 alone.
Although simple recycling is a huge part of our overall solid-waste reduction program it is our miscellaneous recycling program that makes us the Greenest. So far we have implemented a program to recycle or re-life skis, snowboards, coats, books, toner cartridges and athletic shoes.
As each program addressed a different waste and worked with different partners they are outlined below:
a. By partnering with One World Running, Stratton Mountain collected used athletic shoes that will find their way to underdeveloped countries and support athletics.
b. In our retail outlets we offered a $50 rebate towards the purchase of new equipment when you recycled your old with us that we in turn donated to Vermont Furniture and a local craftsman to find a new life as bird houses, benches, and Adirondack chairs.
c. In our centralized Welcome Center we collect printer and toner cartridges to be delivered to our local school who recycles them through the Funding Factory who in turn monetarily contributes to school programs.
d. Lastly, Stratton’s Retail division created a program called “Coats for All” to collect outerwear to find a second life for those more in need in our two host counties. Several coat drives were conducted throughout our summer and fall events to collect used coats and pants and then they were distributed by Manchester Health Services and Agape Christian Fellowship.
In 2012 over 400 coats were given a second life, more than 50 pairs of athletic shoes were sent around the world, 16 pairs of skis and 32 snowboards were saved from the landfills, and an ever growing number of printer cartridges have been refilled and recycled.
Greenest Composting Program
Our resort composting program initiated in Fall 2011, with the partnership of Highfields Composting Center, has produced approximately 26,850 lbs of compost that is used locally at farms, gardens and here on the resort. All organic materials from the Tamarack Grill are sorted by wait staff and in the Kingdom Cafeteria during ski operations. A dedicated staff member and table tents on each table educate guests, who are happy to participate. Diverting this organic waste to composting represents a greenhouse gas emissions reduction equivalent to not burning over 1,300 gallons of gasoline!
Greenest Water Treatment Program
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort collects all the storm water at the base of Spruce Peak and a limited amount from the Mount Mansfield base area and treats it through the use of storage in a fore-bay prior to its passage to the resort’s primary snowmaking reservoir.
This new reservoir, named Peregrine Lake, holds 112 million gallons of water and also serves as a major feature on the Stowe Mountain Club golf course.
The water stored in the Peregrine Lake reservoir is reused for snowmaking in winter and golf course irrigation during the summer.
Greenest Alternative Energy Program
In 2009 Bolton became the second ski area in the country, and the first in Vermont, to boast a wind turbine on site. The turbine is maintained by Bolton Valley staff and owned by Larry Williams and Doug Nedde, also the owners of Bolton Valley.
The 121-foot-tall Northwind 100 Wind Turbine produces approximately 300,000 kilowatt hours of power annually and can start generating electricity at wind speeds as low as 6 mph. The turbine uses net metering so power is sent into the electrical grid and in return, Bolton Valley receives a price reduction on their electricity. The amount of power produced could cover about one eighth of Bolton Valley’s total energy needs, which is equivalent to the electricity consumed by 40 to 45 Vermont households.
Northern Power Systems is a Vermont company based in Barre that used Vermont companies whenever possible throughout the manufacturing and installation of the turbine. Northern Power Systems also created a kiosk that tracks live info from the turbine. Check out the site to see the turbine’s current status. For even more specifics about the wind turbine check out the wind turbine fact sheet.
This unique initiative prompted Bolton’s receipt of the National Ski Areas Association’s 2010 Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Energy Conservation/Clean Energy. These NSAA awards have garnered national recognition as the leading program honoring environmental excellence in the ski industry.
Best Efficiency Snowmaking Upgrade
Sugarbush recently made a $1.5 million investment to upgrade its snowmaking capacities. With this investment Sugarbush has deployed forty new ultra-low energy snow guns. The groundbreaking technology require vastly less compressed air and less electricity per gallon of water and reduces the energy needed to make snow without compromising on either quality or quantity of the snow. The investment allows Sugarbush to make more snow, on more trails from top-to-bottom, earlier in the season then the resort was able to in the past. The addition of these 40 snow guns has essentially doubled the snowmaking capacity at the mountain.
In addition to the increased capacity, the new snow gun technology saves a vast amount of energy per gallon of water pumped thus significantly reducing green house gas emissions and the overall energy consumption. Efficiency Vermont estimated that the deployment of the new technology would save approximately 1,080,000 kilowatt-hours and reduce carbon emissions by 1,112,194 pounds per year.
Best Efficiency Program for Facilities
Jay Peak Resort
When Jay Peak Resort decided to construct an indoor waterpark, it knew energy efficiency would have to be a top priority. It was that thinking that contributed to how the Pump House was built and where it was located. The 60,000-square foot park is an all-glass structure. Not only does the UV-permissible glass allow for flora to grow in the park, it allows for passive solar heating of the Pump House. Jay Peak didn’t stop there though. The resort located the park adjacent to its Ice Haus skating arena. Ice arenas, being essentially massive refrigerators, emit a lot of waste heat that results from generating the ice and keeping the facility cold. Jay Peak installed a state-of-the-art heat exchange system that captures all of the Ice Haus’ waste heat, plums it over to the Pump House, and then uses that energy to heat the Pump House. The system saves up to 60,000 gallons of propane a year.
Most Sustainable Restaurant
Each year the Tamarack Grill submits a very detailed and intensive application to be included as one of 12 Vermont Green Restaurants in the Green Mountain State by the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership. It is our mission at the Tamarack Grill to support the preservation of our environment. We purchase only compostable plates, napkins and plastic cups for our cafeteria dining spaces and also switched over to durable reusable silverware as an effort to cut back our waste. These measures coincide with our resort wide composting program started in the fall of 2011. From every can and bottle that goes through the restaurant, to office paper, cardboard boxes, ink cartridges, batteries, cleaning products and even receipt paper, we make every effort to reduce our impact by using environmentally friendly products and recycling as many products as we can.
We also believe in the importance of purchasing local foods and supporting local agriculture. We work with over 40 local farms & vendors to receive quality local ingredients. We also frequent local farmers markets in the summer months, in order to serve fresh, local products. Other means we practice in order to lower our impact include; the use of green cleaning products whenever possible, the installation of timers on our coffee and cocoa machines, installing water reduction valves in all of our hand sinks, low flow toilets, and a low flow pre rinse valve in our dishwashing unit and updating our lighting to super T-8 and LED lights. We have also replaced paper towel dispensers in the restrooms with low-energy hand dryers. The Tamarack Grill also tries to give back not only to the environment, but to the local community as well. The restaurant staff visits our local Senior Meal Site a few times each year where we donate, prepare and serve a dinner.
Most Creative Environmental Program
Killington Resort is powering its K-1 Express Gondola with electricity generated directly from cows on Vermont dairy farms. The initiative was made possible through Killington’s enrollment in Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power program, which enables GMP customers to purchase all or part of their electricity at a premium and support Vermont’s dairy farms as well as the development of new cow power projects across the state.
The power comes from methane released from manure as it decomposes. Farms collect cow manure throughout the day, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment which is then pumped into an anaerobic digester. The slurry flows through a digester for about three weeks allowing bacteria to convert the manure into biogas, about 60% methane gas and 40% carbon dioxide. The biogas is then delivered to a modified natural gas engine, which drives an electric generator to create electricity. Finally, the energy generated is fed onto the GMP electrical system which ultimately powers the K-1 Express Gondola.
By participating in the Cow Power program, we are supporting the farms that process their farm waste in an anaerobic digester prior to storage. This reduces the farms’ methane emissions by approximately 3.4 Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide equivalents per cow, per year. So, not only are we using a local, renewable source for electricity, but it lessens the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Good for the environment, for local farms andfor keeping snow on the mountain.
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