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Resource Conservation

Man cross country skiing at Beaver Creek

Energy Audit

Beaver Creek along with a representative of Eco-Energy International conducted an Energy Audit at several locations in Beaver Creek. The energy audit was deployed as one of many tools to determine what measures Beaver Creek could take to save energy in various facilities. The Energy audit was the first step in understanding how our facilities use energy and how energy can be saved. The energy audit was used to identify, quantify, describe and prioritize cost saving measures relating to energy use at Beaver Creek. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, along with the Governors Office of Energy Management and Conservation (OMEC) expressed appreciation for the opportunity to work with us on potential energy-savings opportunities because of our Energy Audit. Beaver Creek used the information collected to identify efficiency opportunities, more accurately quantify capitol costs, and energy cost savings. This led to more energy efficiency projects. From 2006 to 2007, Beaver Creek reduced our energy consumption in the Lift, Facilities and Snowmaking kilowatt-hours used by more than 7%. This was a reduction of 3,068,288 pounds of CO2 according to the EPA.


One of the ways Beaver Creek staff reduced energy use was to purchase and install occupancy sensors at various locations. The occupancy sensor automatically detects changes in occupancy using infrared technology. This switch is ideal for restrooms, closets, and other rarely occupied locations, that need not be lit all day. By reducing unnecessary lighting, the wall switch helps us save energy. The installation of timers is another small step Beaver Creek utilized to save energy. Timers have been installed in areas such as walk in coolers that are only occupied for a short period of time.

Beaver Creek staff also purchased and installed compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s.) The twenty-three watt CFL uses 75% less energy than its 100-watt incandescent equivalent, and lasts 13 times longer. By using energy efficient 23 watt CFL’s, we significantly decreased our energy consumption, which reduced our indirect emissions of greenhouse gasses and harmful pollutants.

The most common commercial lighting in the past has been the 1.5-inch diameter (T12) cool-white fluorescent lamps and transformer-type magnetic ballasts. At Beaver Creek, this type of lighting is more and more becoming a thing of the past.

Beaver Creek Management is dedicated to setting new standards for low power consumption for lighting purposes by applying new technologies to aging buildings. If an existing building uses T12 fixtures and lamps, and they are still in good shape, they are retrofitted with electronic ballast. The electronic ballasts are specifically designed to operate lamps at a lower current that the T12 lamps. Since T8 lamps have identical pin spacing they are easy to install in place of T12 lamps. All new buildings use the energy efficient T8 lighting set-up.

Benefits of the Retrofit include:
    • A fixture uses up to 35% less electricity
    • T8 lamps have higher light output per watt (efficacy)
    • Longer lamp life
    • Electric ballasts virtually eliminate lamp flickering
    • Electronic ballasts can operate as many lamps on a single ballasts
    • Fixture provides quieter operation, no humming

Spruce Saddle Lodge, the resort’s main on-mountain restaurant, purchased a new industrial dishwasher that decreased both water and electrical use. The new dishwasher uses 276 gallons of water per hour versus the 419 gallons per hour used by the previous machine; a 35% decrease in water use and a huge reduction in water heating cost. In addition, we substituted a gas booster heater for the new machine as opposed to the electric booster heater that generally is installed with this machine. This change will result in a $4000.00-$8000.00 annual savings in power consumption. To further these savings, an Ultra-Spray valve manufactured by Fisher was installed a year later on the machine. These spay valves save 65% on water heating and usage costs. It provides powerful performance while using only 1.60 GPM @ 80 PSI.


Due to a high dependency on electric power, Beaver Creek snowmaking proactively seeks and utilizes equipment and technology to maximize energy efficiency.

Since 1989, and continuing with current projects, the snowmaking department utilizes Variable Frequency Drives (VFD’s) for primary water pumps. Through the use of these pumps the resort realizes an 18% decrease in energy consumption as compared to conventional pumping systems.

To further maximize energy efficiency, the resort has replaced the conventional, and older, air/water systems (a 10:1 air/water ratio) with the new, technologically advanced tower guns (a 1:1 air/water ratio). This conversion of 151 snow guns reduces energy consumption by 90% when compared with conventional equipment.

The resort’s western hillside reservoir is used to manage peak-use impacts of snowmaking on electrical consumption. The use of this reservoir, thanks to its gravity feed delivery system, saves 3000 kilowatts of energy load without affecting operations. In addition, the reservoir allows for replenishment during off-peak electrical periods and during peak stream flows.

Terrain transitions require more snowmaking to accomplish the same target base. By recontouring part of the Hay Meadow ski run, Beaver Creek Mountain Operations were able to minimize terrain transitions. Approximately 5 acres of Hay Meadow were regraded using cut and fill practices to net a zero import/export of material. Subsequent to the regrading operations, disturbed areas were successfully revegetated with native grass seed mix and mulched with certified weed-free straw. In accordance with the EPA’s Storm Water Management Plan for Construction Activities, Alpine Engineering, Inc. drafted a Storm Water Management Plan and the appropriate permits were filled with the State of Colorado. It is estimated that the treated areas require 35% less man made snow product to accomplish the same 18” base target as in previous years and that the treatment will have an estimated payback of 1.39 years.

Beaver Creek Hospitality and Lodging

The Beaver Creek Hospitality and Lodging group stocks property rooms with information cards to help educate guests visiting the resort, and to promote water/energy conservation. This program is targeted at over 15,000 guests.

Both the Inn at Beaver Creek and the Pines Lodge promote the reuse of linens. Guests who are interested can reuse towels and bedding during their stay. With average stays of three nights in the summer and upwards of six in the winter this leads to considerable water, energy and detergent savings. Arrowhead property management switched over from daily “trash and towel” service to “request only” service to conserve resources. They have realized a 32% decrease in pounds of linen per occupied room night, translating to a 32% savings in water, electricity and detergent use.

Vail/Beaver Creek Resort Properties installed a new detergent system. The system accomplished the following:

    • Eliminated the need for Bleach cycle
    • Eliminated the need for a softening cycle
    • Required fewer rinse cycles
    • Operates as a closed system to minimize spills and splashes
    • Small - five pound containers, easier and safer for the employees to use
    • Reduce water usage by 18%
    • Reduce energy to heat water by 25%

Golf Course Operations

The irrigation system for the golf course is entirely gravity fed. This means that there is absolutely no energy demand for irrigating the course.


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