Highlighting how global warming poses a big threat to the ski industry, EPA officials this month toured Vermont's Killington Resort to showcase environmental initiatives aimed at cutting emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. Killington was named Vermont’s Overall Greenest Resort in 2014.
Last year was the hottest year on record and each of the last three decades has been hotter than the last. In mountain towns that depend on winter tourism, the realities of climate change really impact local economies. Shorter, warmer winters mean a shorter season to enjoy the winter sports we love—and a financial hit for local economies that depend on winter sports. Skiing, snowboarding and other types of winter recreation add $67 billion to the economy every year, and they support 900,000 jobs.
“It is great to see one of New England’s biggest ski resorts invest in green and energy efficient operations,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. “Climate change is a challenge for the winter sports industry, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and energy footprint at big operations like Killington are a big step in the right direction.”
Killington powers its K1 Gondola and the Peak Restaurant with purchases of electricity generated by BioGas, commonly known as Cow Power. Killington purchases over a million kiloWatthours of energy through Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power program. That energy is equivalent to nearly 170 homes total electricity usage. The Cow Power program is supported by 13 dairy farms with a total of nearly 13,000 cows contributing to this renewable energy source in Vermont. Cow Power replaces energy generated elsewhere in Vermont and New England, plus has the added benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Some of the other green operations featured at Killington include:
• Killington has invested in 400 energy efficient snow guns in the past year.
• Greywater in bathrooms on the mountain. Greywater is nearly potable water that can be recycled onsite for toilet flushing. Greywater is a more efficient use of water.
• Electric car charging stations at the Killington Grand Resort Hotel
“We are thrilled to host Mr. Spalding and greatly appreciate the recognition of our sustainability efforts. We strive to improve the efficiency of our resort operations each year and I'm proud of the steps we have taken to this point,” said Michael Solimano, President and General Manager at Killington Resort & Pico Mountain.
”Killington’s investment in Cow Power makes a direct investment in renewable generation on a Vermont dairy farm, which produce greenhouse gas reductions from manure storage, reduce odors at the farm, and the process can help farms reduce nutrient runoff,” said David Dunn of Green Mountain Power.
More information on EPA’s Green Sports initiative: http://www2.epa.gov/green-sports.