Red or Green?
The official state question of New Mexico is: Red or Green?
Choosing green means that we are pursuing business practices that are not only environmentally friendly, but also promote a more resilient and robust community. The mission of Taos Verde is to identify and pursue the practices that will realize that objective. In pursuit of that goal we have identified the following five core areas of focus: energy, stewardship, water, waste, and engagement.
From 2014 to 2016 we took drastic actions to reduce our overall energy consumption by 10.9%. That is a greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 340 metric tons of CO2. Bolstered by our success, we have made a commitment to further reduce our energy consumption by 20% from our baseline data in 2014 to 2020. Scroll down to learn how we will achieve that goal.
The Blake Hotel has been designed to use, at a minimum, 12-14% less energy than baseline construction methods. Ground source heat pumps, LED lighting, and thermostats tied to occupancy sensors are but a few of the cutting edge energy efficient technologies being employed to achieve that goal.
Taos is making a significant investment in our snowmaking system. We are reducing our energy consumption, increasing our snowmaking coverage, and improving the overall skiing and riding experience. The result has been a reduction in our snowmaking energy consumption of 17%, which is equivalent to reducing our CO2 emissions by 234 tons. Not only have we reduced our energy use, but we have also increased our water to snow conversion rate by 15%. Less energy and more snow! It’s a win-win!
HYDRATE LOCALLY. HELP GLOBALLY.
Next time you drink a plastic disposable water bottle hold it up and imagine it ¼ full of crude oil. On average, that is how much oil that is required to produce a bottle, fill it with water, and transport it to the final destination. Through our “Hydrate Locally. Help Globally.” initiative we have discontinued the sale of disposable plastic bottles at all of our facilities. Instead we will be offering reusable bottles at the same price point. Through this initiative we expect to remove nearly 10,000 plastic bottles from our waste stream annually. Swing by any of our retail shops or any of our restaurants to pick up an awesome reusable, collapsible, and durable bottle for only $4. Makes for a great souvenir!
In all appropriate locations we are replacing outdated light bulbs and fixtures with new, highly efficient fluorescent and LED lighting.
SNOW CAT UPGRADES
We have upgraded our entire snow cat fleet to Tier 3 motors. The result has been a reduction in fuel use, and thus a decrease in our associated greenhouse gas emissions.
SNOW FARMING PROGRAM
As soon as the snow starts falling we start moving the snow to highly trafficked and shadier locations. We continue this effort throughout the season with the placement of snow fences in strategic locations. This reduces our reliance on artificial snowmaking and therefore results in an overall decrease in energy consumption.
WASTE OIL REUSE
We reuse the oil from our snow cats, snowmobiles, and trucks and use it to heat our vehicle maintenance facility through a waste oil heater from Clean Burn.
To help our guests travel to the resort through more environmentally friendly methods we offer regular shuttle service from Albuquerque to the Resort and we host a carpooling website to help guests find new friends to share a ride. There are also several options for arriving to the resort via public transportation.
For our employees we offer a free shuttle. During the 2015-16 winter season the employee shuttle provided 22,000 rides, took an average of 125 cars off the road every day, and reduced our associated emissions by around 299 metric tons of CO2.
Many years of disrupting the natural fire regime, combined with Spruce Beetle infestations have left our surrounding forest overgrown with dead and dying trees. As a member of the Rio Grande Water Fund we have worked with community members to identify watersheds within our boundary that are of particular concern. We are carrying out treatments in these locations to improve the health of the forest, restore wildlife habitats, reduce fuel for potential wildfires, and protect the watershed. This work not only creates a healthier habitat, but also better skiing! Take a spin through the Wild West, Ernie’s, and North American and see for yourself!
Taos Ski Valley Foundation Provides Renewed Support for the Rio Grande Water Fund - Learn More
LOCALLY SOURCED FOOD
In the 2015-16 season over half of the food served in all five of our restaurants was locally sourced. It helps our community and environment, and tastes a whole lot better. Come check out the Sustainable Dining Series at the Bavarian to try out some delicious local foods.
The water here is delicious, and we plan on keeping it that way. Thus, we have switched to water-based cleaning products for our vehicle maintenance and lift maintenance programs. This eliminates the potential for hazard waste spills and keeps our water pristine.
A key component of our base area revitalization project is the restoration of the Rio Hondo and the development of a river walkway that integrates the resort experience with the natural world upon which we depend.
Using water efficient appliances and water conscious landscaping our new hotel, The Blake, will use at least 20% less water over traditional methods. Go to theblake.com/sustainability to learn more.
We have begun the process of retrofitting all of our existing facilities with low-flow water fixtures, water-less urinals, and dual flush toilets all with the goal of reducing our water consumption.
Did you know that, on average, the production process for a one liter bottle of water consumes three liters? Through our “Hydrate Locally. Help Globally.” campaign we will eliminate the consumption of nearly 10,000 bottles of water a year, that’s 30,000 liters of water saved!
Taos is taking every reasonable measure to reduce our total waste as well as divert as much of our waste stream from the landfill.
We are reducing our waste by encouraging informed purchasing decisions company-wide. Informed purchasing decisions go beyond price and consider the product's entire life-cycle. For all items that are purchased by the resort we encourage the consideration of how and where the product is produced, how it gets to the resort, how long will it last, and what will happen to it when it ends up in our waste stream.
To reduce our waste we are incorporating reusable dining ware in all of our dining facilities, we are avoiding the use of pre-packaged frozen foods and instead buying delicious, locally sourced foods, and we are purchasing higher quality, longer lasting uniforms for our employees. Through initiatives such as our “Hydrate Locally. Help Globally.” program are continuously evaluating our purchasing decisions with the goal of reducing the overall waste that results from our operation.
We do everything possible to divert our waste from the landfill. In addition to traditional recycling methods, we recycle all scrap materials from our lifts and snow-making infrastructure and we have partnered with the Taos Earthship Institute to have our wine bottles reused as building materials for homes.
SUSTAINABLE SPEAKER SERIES
Times and locations are TBD. This information will be made available in the coming weeks.
At Taos we believe we have the ability to incur a positive change in the world. We are using our position as one of the largest private companies in Northern New Mexico to encourage legislation that promotes a more sustainable community both locally and globally. To bolster our voice we have partnered with the National Ski Area Association’s Climate Challenge and Protect Our Winters to help us share our message with our government representatives, guests, and employees.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Have a great idea for how to improve our sustainability initiatives? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are holding bi-annual town hall meetings concerning sustainability. If you are interested in attending the next meeting email us at email@example.com.
After a careful vetting process we have made the decision to partner with Protect Our Winters and we think you should consider supporting them as well. Go to protectourwinters.org to learn more.
Take a stand against single-use bottled water and swing by one of our food and beverage or retail outlets to pick up your reusable bottle today!