Vail Resorts

Conserving Energy

As an environmental business leader in Colorado, Vail Resorts took another big leap in energy conservation in May 2008 with the announcement of mandatory energy "layoffs" of 10 percent over two years. Since then, The Company has reached a 6.1 percent reduction in its first year.

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz was invited to be part of the Governor of Colorado's Climate Action Plan announcement on Nov. 5, 2007. Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz accepted Governor Bill Ritter's challenge to reduce energy use and emissions by announcing that our Company would launch an internal program Use Less .. Do More, that'll become part of our everyday culture. 

This makes sense both because it’s the right thing to do for the environment- reducing emissions and conserving natural resources- but also because it’s the right thing to do for our shareholders.  With energy prices at all time highs, reducing our energy use saves money and improves our profitability.  While the environment and our shareholders are two critical stakeholders, so are our guests.  We are looking for those opportunities where we can reduce our energy use AND continue to upgrade the experience we provide our guests.

Here are a few of the intiatives:

Get Together. 

The Company will begin offering incentives to our employees to carpool when driving for business. For each 400 miles that someone drives carpooling with other employees on company business, the Company will give you a free lift ticket to any one of our five resorts.  More details to come on this. 

Turn it Off. 

Turn off those lights!  Sounds simple- and it is.  But lots of people forget.  Lets make a habit of getting those lights off whenever possible.  The Company will help as well- but purchasing signage and reminders where possible.  And we don’t need to stop with lights- turning off your computer can have a real impact as well.

Clean Lighting. 

For all “back of the house” and “service” areas- compact fluorescent or LED lighting will become the standard to use when replacing lighting.  These newer technologies can save a bundle on energy and still get the job done.  In our “guest facing” areas we will also look for more efficiency which can be accomplished while still maintain the design standards we have.

Smart Buildings. 

We will be looking at Energy Management Systems for each of our facilities.  These systems can control heating and lighting to make sure that we are using these precious resources (and costly resources) only when we really need to.  Clearly the right system and investment will be different for each facility- but this will become a priority- particularly when the financial returns are so clear.

Idlewise for Everyone.

We will begin to rollout our Idlewise program company-wide.  Idlewise is a program launched at Beaver Creek that sets limits on the time that any of our company vehicles can be idling to 5 minutes or less.Another seemingly simple step- that can save a ton- but only if we focus on it and remember.  We will also be looking to put engine block heaterson our vehicles, where appropriate, to significantly reduce the fuel needed to get the engines ready for driving.

More Strokes. 

We will continue to replace our 2-stroke snowmobiles with 4-stroke snowmobiles, dramatically reducing emissions and conversing fuel.  We will also increase our scrutiny on “right sizing”for all of our vehicles- making sure the vehicles we are buying have enough power to the job- but not going overboard, where we start losing fuel efficiency.

Use the Grease. 

We will continue to explore ways our company can use alternative fuels, like bio-dieseland ethanol blends.  Unfortunately, we are still struggling with performance issues with bio-diesel, both in our vehicles and for storage.   However, we are launching a test this year at Heavenly and will be keeping a close eye on how new developments in this area can make this a fit for us company-wide.

Here are a few more steps that Vail Resorts takes to conserve natural resources and reduce the impact on our environment.

Light and taps.
Long ago our company began the process of replacing traditional lighting with high-efficiency compact fluorescent bulbs and retrofitting bathrooms with low flow plumbing fixtures. Today's advances in green technology allow us to take the next steps in conservation.

At our five mountain resorts, upgrades to snowmaking systems have resulted in a 33% greater output capacity, better snow quality and an overall 25% increase in electrical efficiency. Each new automated snow gun uses 50% less electricity and water than the guns they replace, and the system-wide upgrades saves an estimated 15,000,000 kWh in an average snowmaking year.

Our resorts use the best available technology to modernize shuttle bus fleets, snowcats and snowmobiles to reduce emissions. All of Heavenly's snowcats run on Category Three "green" engines and all snowmobiles are outfitted with four-stroke engines. Heavenly also uses many low-sulfur diesel shuttle buses and operates Lake Tahoe's largest public transportation system, serving an average of 450,000 employees and guests each season, saving nearly 1.6 million vehicle miles of travel.

Vail Mountain staff use "Townie" bikes to do business in and around town. The bikes eliminate the need for short drives, thus reducing emissions and fuel consumption and they also provide a great way to interact with guests and build up some skiing muscles.

Hospitality and Lodging.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the lodging industry, as part of its total energy usage, spends on average nearly 60% of its budget to heat water and light its facilities. This provides all hotels and resorts with prime opportunities to reduce demands.

Installation of low-flow faucets, showerheads, toilets, kitchen sprayers and water efficient laundry equipment, as well as integration of EPA EnergyStar™ rated appliances, electronics, and other service equipment, is becoming common practice throughout all of our properties.

Some resorts also feature automated energy management systems, including timers and motion sensors to power down in-room heating, ventilation and cooling systems, spa and health club equipment, kitchen appliances and lighting. Our resorts actively engage our guests in conservation efforts, such as offering visitors the choice to reuse their daily linens and towels to reduce water and energy usage.

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