A Decade of Green - Copper’s Environmental Commitment
Reduce, reuse, recycle – and rethink
Posted by Guest Blogger
on March 29, 2014
We love the loads of pristine white snow that glisten in the sunlight under an azure and cloudless sky on our favorite bluebird day. And we crave that panoramic summit view – those endless miles of crisp pine-dotted Rockies towering amidst a boundless vault of atmosphere stretched infinitely overhead.
But Copper Mountain is keenly aware that the natural resources we’re in love with are actually finite and must be protected. So, a decade ago Copper embarked on an Energy Initiative Program designed to reduce energy consumption and energy resources to protect the beauty and wildness that magnetically draw us to this place.
Copper Mountain’s environmental mission is to reduce, reuse, recycle – and rethink.
A decade ago, back in 2004, Copper completed three major projects that set the tone:
- They retrofitted and replaced fixtures to run higher efficiency TB and CFL bulbs at key buildings on the mountain.
- They installed electric consumption meters on PDS (power distribution system) buildings to better understand energy consumption and to design methods to integrate changes into the way we actually behave on the mountain.
- They installed controls on lift station heater systems giving the boot to wasted use.
A year later Copper continued its crusade to rethink and revamp by replacing part of its bus fleet with three environmentally friendly Cobuses which are 60% more efficient than standard buses. They also extended their recycling campaign to include a broader spectrum of materials like solvents, oil and light bulbs.
In the years that followed, the ideas flowed and Copper began a partnership with The National Forest Foundation to donate a portion of lodging revenue to fund local forest conservation projects – now totaling over $115,000 in donations.
In 2008, when Woodward at Copper was completed, it was awarded the Green Globes green building certification for using recycled materials and energy efficiency measures. That same year, Copper installed a solar system at the Transportation Center which currently generates an average of 5,900kWh annually.
About four years ago, Copper began a pilot composting program at Jack’s food court. Currently, you’ll find composting at three major food courts and banquet operations here at Copper. At these venues, they’ve removed trash cans so all you have to do is put your tray into a large cart and let Copper employees do the messy, individual bin-sorting for you.
Copper has even revamped their 2012 Green Team, which is made up of ten employees, each representing a different department around the resort. Stephanie Sweeney, one of the Green Team’s rethinking minds, works in Copper Mountain’s public relations department. “Gary Rogers, our general manager, revived the Green Team last season in an effort to make Copper’s green efforts bigger and better than ever,” says Sweeney.
So, what can you do to help keep Copper clean and green?
- Help keep those skies clear and blue and carpool with at least 3 other friends when you head to Copper. In addition to a clear conscience you’ll receive another bonus: FREE parking in the Chapel Lot, one of Copper’s close-in lots.
- Ditch your disposable plastic water bottle and bring a reusable one. Copper’s aim is to become bottle-free, so look for the unique bottle refill stations they’ve sprinkled around the resort to quench your thirst and alleviate plastic and paper waste.
- When you lodge here at simply Copper turn off the lights, TVs and any other electrical appliance when you leave your condo.
- Become part of Copper’s “No Idling” policy. While you’re just hanging out in your car, turn your engine off to reduce any unnecessary exhaust.
More ways Copper Mountain is actively preserving our mountain environment:
- 2010/2011 – Major renovation and expansion of its snowmaking system by installing high efficiency tower snow guns on the runs in the Timberline Express pod and USSA Speed Venue, using significantly less water and energy.
- 2011/2012 – Installation of two wind turbines at patrol headquarters, generating an average 1,000kWh of clean, renewable energy annually; installation of new Union Creek lift using Doppelmayr Energy Management System
- 2012/2013 – Copper joined the NSAA Climate Challenge which engages ski areas across the country to take action and fight climate change; Solar-thermal heating system installed at Solitude station
- 2014/and beyond – Copper is conducting a feasibility study on installing a hydroelectric turbine which could use snowmaking infrastructure to generate renewable electricity.
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