Green Results at Vermont Ski Resorts
Jen Butson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ski Vermont has generated a decade of green results through resort improvements and collaboration with Efficiency Vermont. Since 2000, our ski areas have saved $25.6 million in electrical and fossil fuel consumptions and prevented 144,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, namely from building upgrades and snow-making efficiencies.
Lovingly known as the Green Mountain State, Vermonters have a local mindset that's devoted to our surroundings - from the soil we cultivate to the crisp winter air we breathe, it's easy to unearth stories of caring for Ma' Nature. Here are just a few:
Bolton Valley Resort
Last year, Bolton Valley became the only ski area in Vermont and the second in the country to install a wind turbine. The turbine is designed to produce 300,000 kilowatts of power annually, the equivalent of the electricity consumed by 40-45 Vermont households.
Other environmental initiatives include retrofitted Ratnik snowguns; use of efficient HKD snowguns and SMI fan guns; reduction of diesel consumption over the past three years; biodegradable and recyclable cafeteria products; environmentally friendly snowmelt used on sidewalks; reduction in grooming emissions with the purchase of a new groomer that can do the work of two of the resort’s old groomers; environmental towel program in the hotel and cafeteria recycling stations.
Burke Mountain is working with Efficiency Vermont to increase efficiency in snowmaking operations and facility operations.
A 2010 winner of the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention, Killington Resort continues to implement innovative energy conservation measures and environmental management practices to reduce energy consumption and the effects of climate change.
In addition to purchasing renewable energy credits to offset 100% of all electricity use, Killington Mountain continues to reduce its overall carbon footprint with its third season of resort-wide co-mingled recycling through Casella Waste Management. Killington also has a no-idling policy for all company owned vehicles - including snowcats - and has installed "Freeaire" systems on six of the resort's walk-in coolers. Plus, millions of dollars have been invested into snowmaking efficiencies and the purchase of Low Energy snow guns, which has reduced diesel consumption by more than 60 percent and electricity by 25 percent over the past five years.
Mad River Glen
While Mad RiverGlen’s ski experience is unique, its sustainable business model and mission of protection and preservation are downright revolutionary. This model strives to maintain the current infrastructure, minimize environmental impact and stays true to the co-op’s vision of maintaining the area’s unique character. The philosophy is to protect and preserve the unique ski experience, putting an emphasis on the mountain - not development. This approach minimizes expenses, eliminates debt, reduces the area’s environmental footprint and creates a sustainable business model that will fulfill the co-op’s mission for generations to come.
This philosophy can be traced to the vision of Mad River’s founder Roland Palmedo who believed “…a ski area is not just a place of business, a mountain amusement park, as it were. Instead, it is a winter community whose members, both skiers and area personnel, are dedicated to the enjoyment of the sport.”The Mad River Glen Cooperative carries this philosophy into the future.
With help from Efficiency Vermont, Magic Mountain has undertaken a massive inspection and repair of the mountain’s snow making system. These efforts helped Magic Mountain uncover over 700 CFM of air loss in its system and the ski area has identified and fixed the leaks resulting in a cost savings of over $12,000 per year. Magic Mountain’s aim is to make snow as efficiently as possible and to lay down more man made snow than ever before.
Middlebury College Snow Bowl
The Snow Bowl will be carbon neutral for the fourth consecutive year by offsetting all carbon emissions, including an estimated amount for customer travel, through a program with Native Energy of Charlotte.
Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort has earned the prestigious Sustainable Community Certification from Audubon International, becoming the first ski resort in the U.S. to merit this environmental achievement. Members of Audubon International’s Sustainable Communities Program are eligible for certification, which recognizes dedication to the process of becoming a more sustainable community and acting on a comprehensive sustainability plan. The plan covers 15 focus areas and members must choose timelines and measurable goals. Once progress is documented, members become certified.
Please visit the complete press releasecontaining information about Stowe Mountain Resort’s environmental programs which include food sourcing, rural heritage, economic development, outreach and education, environment and wildlife, water quality, energy and resource use efficiency, transportation and waste reduction.
Okemo Mountain Resort
In 2009, Okemo received the prestigious Silver Eagle Award for environmental education. The National Ski Areas Association recognizes resorts' efforts to preserve and protect winter playgrounds. Okemo was honored for developing innovative ways to engage guests and employees. Okemo has made environmental education a central part of its operations through programs like Valley Quest, an award-winning, place-based education program that uses treasure hunts to celebrate community, natural history, cultural sites, stories and special places. Okemo’s full-time environmental scientist handles a number of tasks including permitting, environmental compliance and sustainability. He established the Environmental Committee at Okemo (ECO) to bring together the experience and enthusiasm of staff and to foster ideas in sustainability.
Green Hotels in the Green Mountain State:Okemo Mountain Resort’s Jackson Gore Inn was designated a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State by the environmental business partnership between the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Small Business Development Center. This designation is based on the Inn’s voluntary commitment to sound environmental excellence through the placement and achievement of high environmental standards. Visit Okemo’s online press kit.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Environmental stewardship programs at Smugglers’ Notch Resort have been in place since the 1970s, when the resort first 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. Most recently, 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.
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.
Stratton Mountain Resort
At Stratton, we don’t look at “going green” as a trend, but a practice in sustainability. And with Mother Nature serving as both our backdrop and our playground, we’re sensitive to the needs of the surrounding environment and the community we live in.
Over the last 12 months, Stratton’s Green Team has worked behind the scenes to enhance the resort experience while improving the environment as a whole. The changes may be subtle, but as the old saying goes: “Think globally, act locally.”
Here are some of those accomplishments over the last year:
- Introduction of athletic shoe recycling at the Sports Center. With over 30 pairs donated to One World Running.
- Introduction of a ski and snowboard collection for the Vermont Furniture Company.
- The implementation of Single Stream Recycling at all resort operated locations where all recyclable material can be collected in one receptacle.
- All Base Lodge disposables (forks, knives, spoons, plates, and cups) can now be converted to corn plastic, reducing our consumption of fossil fuel products.
- Stratton’s continued work under the Efficiency Vermont Lighting Plus Program included upgrading 13 buildings with efficient lighting and sensors.
- The newly renovated Village Rentals store features recycled rubber flooring. The carpet in the North Face Summit Shop is made from recycled material and our retail outlets utilize recycled material in their shopping bags.
- The Green Team promotes recycling to all new employees through a New Hire Orientation presentation. The Human Resources department recently introduced an online application process, reducing the need for paper consumption.
- The Inn at Stratton Mountain earned designation as a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State through implementation of in-room and common area recycling, green cleaning products, recycled paper products, environmentally friendly toiletries and lighting upgrades.
Trapp Family Lodge
Sometimes, it’s where relaxation takes place that great ideas occur. At Trapp Family Lodge, the swimming pool will be seeing a green renovation. Recent reviews of the rooftop space, while lounging poolside, led the lodge to seek utility in all that open-space. The answer: they are installing solar panels on the roof of the indoor swimming pool.
Here’s a brief list from Efficiency Vermont on its resort projects’ highlights:
Bolton Valley Resort: Bolton Valley saw upgrades to their water distribution system (Snowmaking 2008). This involved a pipeline increase from 4" to 6" pipe to reduce heat and fix leaks. Increasing pipe diameter to the appropriate size can result in significant savings.
Bolton has seen sheer reduction in snowmaking costs since the 2006-07 season. Bolton cut kWh/day in half between the 06/07 and 07/08 seasons. When the resort doubled snowmaking in the 08/09 season, it was still using less energy than past years.
Bromley Mountain Resort: Load Reduction and Energy Management system; reduction in snowmaking hours to make the same amount of snow through more efficient guns.
Burke Mountain: Snow guns, lighting, fan guns and pipeline overhaul.
Cochran’s Ski Area: Installed snowmaking system: pump, piping, and fan guns.
Jay Peak Resort: New construction projects: hotel, water-park, ice rink, lodging, Tram motor upgrade.
Killington Mountain: Freeaire refrigeration project on their walk in coolers.
Mad River Glen: Lighting
Magic Mountain: Fan guns, tower guns, Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) on pump, air pipeline leak detection and correction.
Mount Snow Resort: More than 250 fan guns, pumping, water overflows, condensation drains, lodge lighting, earth berming to replace snowmaking, pool dehumidification.
Okemo Mountain Resort: Snow guns, pond temperature study, integration of efficiency into daily maintenance activities.
Pico Mountain: Pico Sports complex HVAC.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort: Lift motor clutch replacement with a VFD, new construction with appliances and lighting
Middlebury CollegeSnow Bowl: Lodge expansion and retrofit.
Stowe Mountain Resort: Belzona pump coating. Temperature logging in the snow making pond. Phase 2 of the hotel used all GU24 based CFLs in every common and in-unit fixture (3000+ fixtures) including custom fabricated GU24 based CFLs in all of their table and floor lamps (900+). Their new performing arts center has a locally-made all-LED chandelier in the lobby that uses 74 6" LED strips.
Stratton Mountain Resort: Proposed 100+ new efficient guns for 2010-2011 season, lighting upgrades in every building on the campus through the Lighting Plus Program (35+ buildings), removed and replaced electric heat in all 110 rooms at the Inn at Stratton.
Sugarbush Resort: Poma Lift and Pump VFD plus new construction of two lodges.
Suicide Six Ski Area: Fan guns, pumping.
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