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.
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?
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!”
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?