Sustainability … One Step at a Time

When it comes to “going green”, the job is never done.  Or perhaps with a bit more positive spin … the opportunities are endless.  The fact is, you can never do too much, but every little bit helps.

At the Antlers we’re proud of our previous accomplishments, but still try to employ one or two additional initiatives each year. Sometimes those are expansions of existing programs and others are completely new efforts. This year we had some of each.  For starters, we bought another eight solar panels to go with the fourteen we already had. Then Greg Ziccardi spearheaded the effort to install over 1,300 LED lights in the condominiums (how many Sustainability Coordinators does it take to screw in a light bulb?).  This, in addition to the hundreds that Greg had already placed in our conference rooms and other common areas.

Under the heading of “brand new accomplishments”, last month we installed a SEMA electric car charger.

car charger

It cost roughly $3,000 for the charger itself, but we also had to run 220V service to the pedestal, which made the installation another $1,500 or so. We figured it would be quite awhile before we saw an economic return on that investment, but that’s okay … we’ve already picked most of the low hanging fruit when it comes to sustainability initiatives that actually save money.  However, to our surprise (and delight), in the first couple weeks after it was in place, we had two different Tesla owners call to make room reservations because they saw our location on their car charging phone app.  How cool is that?

Tesla charging c

Then, in order to take full advantage, we bought an electric hybrid Ford C-Max to use for running around town, as well as shuttling Antlers guests when we can. The cool thing about the C-Max is, like many new-technology hybrids, it runs on sheer electric power for the first 20 miles or so.  So if you just run to the supermarket or the post office like we usually do, it never uses any gas!  If we have to go to Denver or somewhere else, the self-charging battery/gas operation kicks in and it has a range of 500 miles or so at 40+ mpg.

Here’s the scoop on the car charger … It costs us about 80 cents an hour when it’s charging a car.  Most cars (it varies widely, of course) will get about fifteen to twenty miles per hour of charging.  That works out to be well less than half the cost of gas, again depending on the car’s fuel efficiency. Guests of the Antlers will not have to pay to charge their car.  In addition to just encouraging sustainable behavior, it’s our way of saying, “Thanks for staying with us!”

car charger sign

For someone who’s just passing through, stops for lunch and wants to “juice up” before they get on the road again, the charge will be $1.95 an hour.  That will help us recoup a little of the installation costs, and is still similar to, or even less than the cost of gas.

Given that some of the electricity we purchase from Holy Cross Energy is generated from those solar panels, and we’ve also been buying their wind power for years, it’s fun to think that our electric car and those of our guests  are truly running on renewable energy.

Now … what’s next?

Actively Green for 2015


The Antlers at Vail once again is taking the lead.

The Antlers, along with The Wren (East-West Resorts) and the Sonnenalp, are the first resorts in Eagle County to be certified by the Town of Vail and Sustainable Travel International (STI) as “Actively Green for 2015“.

Actively Green is the brain trust of Kristen Bertuglia, the Sustainable Director for the Town of Vail, and Kim Langmaid who chairs the  Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.  The goal is to certify 100 businesses in the Valley before the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships which are scheduled to be held in Vail and Beaver Creek. The process is rigorous and the intent is to show the world that our Valley is in harmony, not only with the environment, but with each other with regard to business operations.

The process began back on September 4th when the Antlers hosted the first STI Educational  Seminar with 20 other business’s.  The training for certification is an intense exercise that covers 21 steps that need to be addressed and adopted as policy.

The criteria range from educating employees and guests about green practices, tracking waste, energy and water use, monitoring green house gases, responsible purchasing and simply pledging to be a good neighbor in our community.

The certification is a “living document”.

Data is gathered and documented into categories on a monthly basis.  This information is then used to determine the environmental impact we are having as we operate our business.  Hopefully, we will see savings in water and energy use and demonstrate to employees and clients the importance of our efforts.

We are proud to be on the forefront of this effort and are excited for the all the businesses that will be joining us soon.

2015 and the World Ski Championships just aren’t that far off.



PS – Without our own Sustainability Coordinator (Greg Ziccardi) the Antlers wouldn’t be in the leadership position we are, both in terms of this Actively Green certification, as well as all of our ongoing efforts.  -Rob


Solar Panels in Vail, Only Better

Antlers solar panels 1

When I told Randi that we had just bought 14 solar panels, her response was, “Really?  Where are we going to put them?”  A logical question, I suppose.  Happily, we don’t have to put them anywhere… we don’t even have to touch them. That’s all taken care of.  All we do is write a check and then start watching for the monthly credit on our Holy Cross electric bill.  How cool is that?

Instead of being placed on our roof, Clean Energy Collective installs them along with about 1,986 of their best buddies on a two acre site down by the airport in Rifle.  The energy they produce then gets fed into the grid.  Voila!  Naturally, the site was selected for optimum exposure and efficiency.  The maintenance is taken care of in perpetuity by virtue of the purchase price plus a fraction of the energy savings from now on.  Again … how cool is that?

Antlers solar panels 2

When we replaced the Antlers roof a few years ago, we tried hard to make it work to install solar along with it.  Sadly, we weren’t able to get it done.  But hey … at this point … who cares?  This is better.  No muss, no fuss, and we’re saving about $700 a year on our electric bill.  That’s about a 7% return initially (better than any of my investments are doing these days), and it should only grow each year as the cost of energy goes up (uhhhh … that’s pretty likely).  Of course, even if the return wasn’t so obviously good, it would still feel great to be “doing the right thing”.

We at the Antlers are quite proud of all our green efforts and initiatives, but this almost seems too easy.  Like, why wouldn’t you do this?  If all goes according to plan, we’ll pick up some more panels next year, and the next year, and …

Another fun element of this project (for us, at least) is the fact that Mike Dow, son of Antlers owners Buzz and Connie Dow, works for Clean Energy Collective and is the one who sold us the panels.   The only thing better than doing this kind of business, is doing it with a member of the family (well, practically).  Since each Antlers condominium is individually metered for electricity, our next step is to point ALL of the condo owners in the right direction, so they too can sign up for this gig.  Which is exactly what I just did for my own home in Edwards.  Ya-hoo!


An All-Day Planning Session on Sustainability… Fun? Really?

Last week I got an invitation to volunteer an entire day to do an “alignment workshop” with the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability.  On the surface, that offer was slightly less than compelling.  Given my somewhat stressed schedule (so what else is new?), I was really tempted to just say, “Sorry”.

Because it was my friend Kim Langmaid (the new President of EVAS) asking, and because the Antlers has been the Official Hotel of EVAS and largely because Bob Vanourek was facilitating (who’s at the very top of my all-time business heroes list), I said yes.  It turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in awhile.

Fifteen of the brightest people I know, led by a genius, in an incredibly valuable planning session.  What’s more, it was actually fun.  Bob’s alignment process addresses everything from Purpose, Vision, Values and Goals, to Strategy, Structure, Action Steps and Communication.  Much of that is covered in his book Triple Crown Leadership, plus a whole lot more.  

We spent the entire day on the initial “high-level” pieces.  As a sidebar, when we were talking about the Purpose of the organization (what many call a “Mission Statement”) I was particularly struck by one of Bob’s slides.  It reflected the stated purpose of the United States Humane Society … Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.  Wow … how’s that for powerful?  It made me think that every Mission Statement ought to be limited to four or five words.

At the end of the day, I admitted to feeling somewhat guilty that I had only spent half the time thinking about the future of EVAS, and the other half applying it all to the Antlers. I can’t wait to put it into practice.  Happily, EVAS has already started to.