By Liz Millikin
This week, the Vermont Ski Areas Association announced the winners of the second annual Green Mountain Awards for Environmental Excellence at Vermont Ski Resorts. Across the state, resorts went head to head in the hopes of winning a coveted award for environmental stewardship.
Stratton Mountain is proud to say that we won the award for Most Improved Carbon Footprint.
In the last year the resort has dedicated itself to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels as well as reducing emissions across the mountain. While small, daily contributions add up quickly, the resort initiated four large emission-reducing projects.
- Replacing a damaged diesel air compressor with 300 high-efficiency guns. Due to a fire in 2012, one of the air compressors used to power the snowmaking guns was damaged beyond repair. Instead of replacing the inefficient machine, Stratton decided to put the allocated funds toward upgrading the snow guns themselves. The new guns produce more while using less energy.
- Replacing the second air compressor with an electric compressor of equivalent power. By moving from diesel-powered to an electric, Stratton is reducing the amount of fossil fuels needed to power the snowmaking system as well as the amount of emissions generated in the process. The new electric compressor also reduces the risk of gas and oil spills and leaks.
- Building earth features to reduce the amount of snow needed to cover winter terrain features. The tubing hill and other trouble spots on the hill have historically needed a large amount of snow to fill in and build up the surfaces for safe and enjoyable skiing, riding and tubing. The tubing hill alone was sculpted with 9900 cubic yards of clean fill – saving the equivalent amount of snow and the energy to produce and sculpt said snow.
- To support and guide us on future energy reduction and efficiency projects, Stratton has signed on to Efficiency Vermont’s Continuous Energy Improvement (CEI) Program. Through CEI and the accompanying data tracking system, Stratton is creating new long-term goals and implementation plans that address internal policy, leadership support, capital investment, education, outreach and best practices. These plans support Stratton as we work toward diesel-free snowmaking by 2017.
According to calculations made by Efficiency Vermont, Stratton anticipates the new high efficiency snow guns, electric compressor and earth features save a total of 251,670 gallons of diesel fuel and 625,859 kWhs every year. The electric savings are equal to 441 metric tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere – the equivalent of 11,307 saplings growing over the course of 10 years. The anticipated savings from diesel are 2,231 metric tons of CO2; that’s as much removing 465 passenger cars from the road.
From zero-sort recycling to choosing electricity over diesel, Stratton is working toward protecting the mountain environment for generations to come. We are excited to receive the award for Most Improved Carbon Footprint and even more excited to continue the work of reducing emissions and fossil-fuel dependency.
See original post here: Ski Vermont Announces 2014 Green Mountain Award Winners