Businesses lauded for sustainable practices | AspenTimes.com

Businesses lauded for sustainable practices

Staff report

The town of Snowmass Village Environmental Advisory Board has recognized two local businesses for their leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship. The Westin Snowmass Resort and Eco Steam Wash received the first annual Snowmass Village Environmental Award at the 2013 John Bemis Community Potluck at the Westin Snowmass Conference Center on Nov. 24.

The Snowmass Village Environmental Award celebrates local leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship through policies, programs or actions focused on energy conservation, water quality and/or conservation, and waste reduction and recycling, according to a statement. Applicants were required to be organizations or businesses located in and/or operating in the town. Nominations were sought this fall from businesses and organizations of all sizes and services. Projects were evaluated as much as possible on the quantifiable results that positively affect the environment.

First Place: The Westin Snowmass Resort

In November 2012, the Westin Snowmass Resort opened after undergoing a $55 million renovation project over seven months. Beyond the changes to hotel amenities, services and programming, some less obvious improvements were made to reduce the hotel's environmental footprint.

During the renovation of the property, low-flow fixtures were installed in public spaces and hotel rooms; LED lights were installed throughout hotel grounds; bathrooms were fitted with low-flow shower heads; reclaimed lumber was used to finish rooms, restaurants and elevators; and pools and hot tubs were converted to saltwater.

"Since opening the new Westin Snowmass Resort, Starwood Hotels and Resorts' initiative to be a good global citizen has been a central consideration," said John Curnow, general manager for the Westin Snowmass. "During the renovation of our hotels, we invested heavily in the Starwood 30-20 by 20 initiative, which aims to reduce hotel power consumption by 30 percent and water consumption by 20 percent across its entire portfolio by 2020."

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The hotel also adopted sustainable meeting practices to reduce the waste associated with the hundreds of meetings conducted at its property each year by providing bottled-water alternatives, serving condiments in bulk and providing sustainable banquet and catering options with limited packaging.

At the end of 2013, the hotel complex, which includes the Westin and Wildwood, will submit energy and water usage into Starwood's environmental impact assessment survey. This system benchmarks the hotel's energy and water usage and allows building managers to track the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives over time. Also, beginning in 2014, it will provide meeting planners with a meeting-impact report card to quantify meeting and meeting-attendee usage of energy and water and track their waste.

Honorable Mention: Eco Steam Wash

Eco Steam Wash is an auto-detailing and steam-cleaning company operating out of the Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass Village.

It is among the first car washes in the United States to operate with high-pressure steam-wash technology, which uses as much as 90 percent less water than a typical car-wash bay. By using steam, Eco Steam Wash avoids the use of shampoos and uses a fully biodegradable degreaser to reduce dirt when needed. Cleaning products are all water-based. The company does not use harsh chemicals like chlorine, ammonia and oil solvents.

"We can wash the outside of a car with as little as a half gallon of water, and there is no need for drains or a water-runoff system because all of the moisture remains on our rags," said Mario Zulian Neto, owner of Eco Steam Wash. "This avoids water and chemical disposal into our rivers."

The Snowmass Village Environmental Advisory Board is a collaborative group committed to updating and accomplishing the goals of the town's environmental-sustainability plan.

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