Sustainability, Green, Environment
Sustainability at YMCA of the Rockies
April 12, 2021
We are making efforts to not only reduce our carbon footprint, but to educate our staff and guests.
Sustainability is an important global topic that is rising to the forefront in many business practices, including right here at YMCA of the Rockies. We are making efforts to make smarter and more sustainable decisions, as well as to educate our staff and guests on ways we can all live more sustainable lifestyles. YMCA of the Rockies is involved in several sustainability projects, including the installation of a solar farm at Snow Mountain Ranch, the installation of electric vehicle chargers at Estes Park Center, and an employee-led project to eliminate the use of plastic wrap in the housekeeping departments at both Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch.
That’s a Wrap on Plastic Wrap
The employee-led project was a result of a YMCA of the USA initiative to elevate innovative youth-led solutions aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals.
World YMCA held the Youth-Led Solutions Summit: Climate Action through a virtual platform to gather young professionals from YMCAs across the world to take charge in the fight for climate action. The summit consisted of speakers and roundtables that pinpointed climate issues to discuss and tackle at YMCAs across the globe. YMCA of the Rockies compiled a team of young professionals from both Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch with a passion for sustainability to attend the summit and learn about ways to make YMCA of the Rockies more “green.”
After attending the summit and meeting to discuss areas of opportunity, the YMCA of the Rockies team put forward its project proposal, “That’s a Wrap on Plastic Wrap,” and was awarded a grant from Y-USA which was put toward a plastic wrap elimination project.
YMCA of the Rockies uses a significant amount of plastic wrap in the housekeeping departments. Across the association from 2017 to 2019, YMCA of the Rockies consumed over 659 rolls of plastic wrap costing around $77,048, an average of over 219 rolls at over $25,682 per year.
PLASTIC WRAP USE FACTS
YMCA of the Rockies uses a significant amount of plastic wrap in the housekeeping departments.
- Across the association from 2017 to 2019, YMCA of the Rockies consumed over 659 rolls of plastic wrap costing around $77,048, an average of over 219 rolls at over $25,682 per year.
- One roll of the industrial plastic wrap used in the housekeeping departments is 3 ft. by 4600 ft.
- The Empire State Building is 1,454 ft. to the tip, so one roll would go up and down the length of the Empire State Building 3.1 times!
- 219 rolls per year equals 1,007,400 ft. of plastic wrap a year, or 191 miles.
- That’s the distance between Fort Collins and Pueblo Colorado, or enough to drive over Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Snow Mountain Ranch 4 times!
This grant allowed the Youth-Led Solutions team to cover the upfront cost of purchasing reusable storage options for towels and linens in the housekeeping department to replace the current “bundle system,” which involved wrapping towels and linens in plastic wrap to transport them to cabins and lodge rooms. It allowed for the purchase of necessary equipment to help housekeeping staff transport the larger, heavier reusable bundles of linens.
Snow Mountain Ranch Solar Farm
Snow Mountain Ranch, in partnership with Mountain Parks Electric, is set to complete a solar array project on the Snow Mountain Ranch property in the near future. The project will consist of 850 solar panels generating 250 kW of solar energy, which would be enough to generate 100% of energy during Snow Mountain's lower energy-consumption days, and provide a large amount of supplemental energy on days consisting of high energy usage. The panels in the project are designed to track the sun and can create energy from both sides, increasing their productivity. The solar farm will also be seeded with native grass mix and will have a 7-foot wildlife fence around it to protect from animals that may wander through.
Through Mountain Park Electric’s “Electrify Everything” program, Snow Mountain Ranch will be able to install the solar array with no upfront capital, and the project cost and the energy production will be split between both entities through the “Green Power Program.” “The Green Power Program” at Mountain Parks Electric uses the dollar value of energy produced to fund weatherization projects for low income households.
Estes Park Center Electric Vehicle Chargers
With environmental stewardship an important goal of YMCA of the Rockies, offering an electric vehicle charging station in a central location at the Estes Park Center is an important step in working towards operating in an earth-friendly fashion. Projections show that by 2030, over 3.5 million electric vehicles will be on the road, making up more than 20% of annual vehicle sales in the US. As electric vehicles become more popular, adding one or more electric vehicle charging stations at Estes Park Center will address the anticipated increasing need, as well as better serve the environment. Additionally, offering electric vehicle chargers as an optional add-on for cabin donors to add to individual cabins will help continue these efforts in the future.
In the summer of 2021, Estes Park Center iunveiled a new ChargePoint CT4025 charger that can charge up to two electric vehicles at a time. This charger has been placed in a central location for all property guests to use. In the future, cabin donors will have the option to install an electric charging station at individual cabins, encouraging guests with electric vehicles to use them while traveling to and around our property.